3 Usability Issues That Keep Visitor Groups From Buying
- Search may be unforgiving: Misspellings should be possible to recover from, and your most commonly searched items should have prescribed or featured results. Product-oriented visitors are looking to get from point A to point B as quickly as humanly possible, so search has to be both functional and zippy.
- Descriptions may be missing: This is actually a fairly recent trend. Some pages are making the hero shot of the product and the call to action so prominent that short, meaningful descriptions of the products are getting pushed to the wayside. Don't fall into this trap. You can have useful, prominent product photos and clear, visible calls to action while keeping short descriptions readily available above the fold. Your product-oriented visitors will be looking for this information.
3. Too much information is required: If a lot of your conversions come from first-time visitors, and your products skew toward being one-time needs, you're probably dealing with a large group of one-time purchasers.
If that's the case, descriptions will be just as crucial as for product-oriented visitors. On top of having short and distinct descriptions, you're also going to have to up your game when it comes to information entry:
- Never require registration for checkout. The customer lifetime value may be low for each visitor, but you'll make up for it in volume. Adding registration will raise your abandonment rate without really adding to the lifetime value of a one-time purchaser anyway.
- Let visitors enter information the way they enter information. Fault tolerance for things like entering credit card information is key. With spaces, without spaces, your system should be able to handle it all.
- Allow users to use autofill. Remember, your visitors are trying to do a task efficiently once. Your job is to make it easy, then get out of the way. Autofill for forms helps significantly with this.
Most sites don't cater to everyone. Trying to please all possible visitors is futile at best and disastrous at worst. You need to figure out which types of groups are coming to your site, then adjust so that you optimize the experience for the majority of your probable visitors.
Tim Ash is the author of the bestselling book Landing Page Optimization, and CEO of SiteTuners. A computer scientist and cognitive scientist by education (his PhD studies were in Neural Networks and Artificial Intelligence), Tim has developed an expertise in user-centered design, persuasion and understanding online behavior, and landing page testing. In the mid-1990s he became one of the early pioneers in the discipline of website conversion rate optimization. Over the past 15 years, Tim has helped a number of major US and international brands to develop successful web-based initiatives. Companies like Google, Expedia, Kodak, eHarmony, Facebook, American Express, Canon, Nestle, Symantec, Intuit, AutoDesk and many others have benefitted from Tim's deep understanding and innovative perspective.
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