All good experiences start with a clear understanding of why the visitor is there. They have goals, pains, and needs, and they’ve turned to you to help them.
Then you have to understand how that visitor expects to get help. You need to know their language, how they want to interact, what they hope to achieve, and what they’re willing to do.
The last step is to figure out how you can provide content and a design that will help the visitor.
Unfortunately, too many companies start with the last step, assuming they know the answers to the first two. Usually they’re wrong. You might be one of them.
How can user experience consulting help you?
- Talk to real people about why and how they might use your site.
- Identify the assumptions you might be making about your visitors.
- Develop personas and experience maps for the people visiting your site.
- Build an information architecture and navigation that matches your visitors’ mental models.
- Write content that addresses your visitors’ goals, pains, and needs.
- Design a site that facilitates the behaviours your visitors will want to exhibit.
How does user experience consulting work?
This depends on your needs, timeline, and budget. You can do a little or a lot, as long as you recognize that a lot will get you better results.
User experience audit
The most basic thing you could do would be to hire me to do a user experience audit.
I’ll take some time to talk with you to figure out your goals for your site and what you think your visitors will be trying to do. Then I’ll go through your site in excruciating detail to figure out where you could be doing better from a best practice perspective, based on what we know about your visitors.
A UX audit typically looks at the following areas of your site:
- Information Architecture
- Content & Multimedia
- Conversion Path, Forms & Error Handling
- Layout & Design
You get a written report on all of the issues I identify, recommendations on how to fix them, and a prioritized list to help you get started.
Depending on the complexity of the recommendations, I can also put together information architecture diagrams, wireframes, or mockups to give you a visual idea of the recommended solutions.
Unmoderated user experience testing
There are a whole bunch of online tools that let us get UX feedback without having to sit down one-on-one with test participants. These tools are a great way to collect a nice mix of qualitative (i.e., deep user insight) and quantitative (i.e., big sample, lots of data) feedback.
I’ll take some time to figure out what your research questions are and how we can best answer them, then we’ll decide on a tool that best addresses your needs.
Unmoderated tests that we can leverage include:
- Click maps – where do people click to accomplish a particular task?
- Preference testing – which of several variations do people prefer?
- Card sorting – how do people expect your content to be grouped on your site?
- Tree testing – how easy is it for people to navigate the site architecture you’ve created?
- Screen recording – how do real people visiting your site interact with it?
- Form analytics – what fields or steps in your forms are causing the biggest challenges?
Moderated user experience testing
Nothing beats talking to and watching real people as they interact with your website. You’ll probably be amazed at some of the ways that people will try to use your website.
We’ll talk about your goals for the site and the goals that people coming to your site will have, then we’ll figure out how to build some tasks for those people to do while we watch them. We’ll also ask them about their behaviours, expectations, and challenges. The qualitative feedback you’ll get will give you an unprecedented view into how your potential customers want to interact with you.
Moderated testing lets you understand:
- What your potential customers expect from your site.
- What language your potential customers are using.
- Where your site falls short in terms of navigation, content, and conversion paths.
You probably have the image of a focus group in your mind. Get rid of it now. We’ll talk to users one-on-one, either face to face in your conference room or a testing facility, or online using web conferencing software. You’ll have to opportunity to observe the sessions live and, depending on the situation, interact with the participants yourself.
User centred design
Incorporating user feedback into your design cycle as early as possible is the best way to save money. Moving a box on a wireframe or sitemap is a lot less resource-intensive than moving that same box on a live site.
Incorporate user feedback and UX best practices with:
- Site planning, target market research and persona development.
- Information architecture and content strategy.
- Wireframe design and testing.
- Mockup and prototype testing.
- Pre- and post-launch competitive benchmarking.