We live in what is probably the most interesting era of human history so far. The 21st century has given us so much already in less than two decades. Let’s think about it for a moment. Two decades ago, for an average human, the idea of being able to lie down on their bed, take a descendant of those giant phones from the nineties and leisurely chat with another human on the other side of the planet without any particular disturbances whatsoever, and all the while seeing each other, would have surely looked like something that was in the distant future, and not just around the corner. The internet plays a major part in all of this. Understanding how users interact with your website is one of, if not the most crucial, elements of online business.
Do you want to see what a city in Brazil looks like? Just Google it on your phone. Your SO is coming over and you want to order some Chinese food? There are tons of apps that can help you with this and you are guaranteed to get what you ordered. With the world around us developing rapidly with every passing second, we have to follow it the best we can. Since the Internet has pretty much taken over everything that goes on in the world, making a good website, as probably the most basic cell of this technological organism, is of paramount importance.
The question, then, is how can you do this? Well, follow the clues your users leave!
The direct approach is always (well… usually) the best one
When working on a computer, it is actually hard to keep in mind that whatever you may be doing is something that another human being will have to interact with in some way. So, once you are aware of this, the first step toward determining how users interact with your website will come to you naturally – Get some real feedback from real users! The best and easiest way to do this is by communicating with them directly. You don’t have to deal with a thousand users, don’t worry about that!
Including 5 to 10 of them will do the job. It is important, however, to do the two following things if you want to get the job done in the most effective way possible.
- Don’t hold their hands! If you want to get real, useful feedback, you have to make sure that the conditions are the same as those in their everyday life. That is why you have to make sure that they don’t feel like they are being observed. Don’t stand over their shoulder and ask them to pretend that you are not there, or something like that. Let them experience your website as they would if they were back home.
- Stay focused – If there are a couple of things that you want to check, make sure that you get your priorities straight. Don’t look for all the possible errors right away. For instance, if you want to check the search engine optimization of your website, focus on that. If that is your number one priority, deal with that first. Once you are done with it, start working on your second priority, that may concern how happy your users are with the loading speed of your website, for instance.
One of the best ways to discover how users interact with your website is by doing surveys
Surveys are one of the oldest forms of gathering data known to mankind. A Presidential election or the NBA MVP poll is basically just a survey on a much larger scale. Since this type of gathering data is so ingrained in our society, why not use it to check how users interact with your website? This shouldn’t be a complicated thing to do. In order to analyze your website usability, you can always simply send emails to your customers asking them to answer your questions. Or, you can have them to do an in-page survey, which is also a good way to determine their satisfaction with your website. There are several guidelines that you need to follow, though.
- Respecting your users is the most important thing! Make sure that your questions are clear and direct, i.e. don’t make them confusing, get to the point. You want to make sure also that those questions are not invading their privacy. So, make a survey in such a way that your users have the option of not answering any one of your questions. Of course, leave them with the possibility of choosing not to do the survey altogether.
- Their time is precious, so make sure they know that you know that. Create surveys that are no more than a couple of minutes. Also, give them information about the expected duration of the survey, beforehand.
- Timing is everything. If you decide, for instance, to see how they feel about digital marketing, timing is always very important. Make sure that they have had enough time to fully experience your website. What is the point of doing a survey if they just entered your website five minutes ago?
You can also use Heatmaps and Analytics
Taking these two things into consideration is another good way of discovering how your clients see your website. Through these, you can easily see how and in what way your users are reacting with your website. We recommend using Google Analytics if you want to go about it this way. This is a very useful tool with a wide variety of options. It is also really easy to set up, and, since it is Google’s, you will find that there are plenty of ways to get help and guidance in case you need it.