Website design part two: information architecture
Once a visitor is on your site you want them to stick around and hopefully be compelled by one of your calls to action. At the very least you want them to find the experience satisfying enough for them to return in future. We’ve all been on websites that just offer up a painful user experience and in all likelihood we’ve failed to find anything of use after giving them a cursory glance and have never been back. Here are a few tips on how to give your customers what they’re looking for – information-wise.
In the late 90’s two psychologists came up with some basic rules for website information architecture – follow these and you won’t go far wrong:
Information should be intrinsic – to be trusted it needs to be accurate and reliable
Information should be accessible – if it’s not easy to locate then you can wave those visitors goodbye
Information should be representational – it needs to be concise and easy to understand
Information should be contextual – it needs to be relevant to your target audience
The website structure needs to make sense to end users, and there needs to be a consistent, coherent design. For example, drop down menus in the same place, logo in the top left throughout, and so on. Users want to be confident that if they access a page they won’t struggle to find it again on a future visit and want to move through your site with ease.
Making your site easy to use frees up your visitors’ mental capacity and helps them focus more brain power on your calls to action. At the very least, research shows that a coherent structure reduces bounce rate and keeps visitors on the site for longer, once again increasing your chances of making a sale. But given you’ve spent time, effort and money making your visitors’ website experiences as informative and straightforward as possible, how do you ensure they engage with your calls to action? One thing you can do is put those calls to action right under their noses...
Most website users look at the same areas on a homepage first. The clever folk at EyeQuant did a lot of research and testing to predict, with 90 per cent accuracy, where users will look first. This is obviously invaluable when it comes to getting your calls to action in the right places. And this can make a BIG difference – deal specialist Groupon optimised its site using EyeQuant and saw a 50 per cent increase in online sign up rate. That’s a massive result and could make a huge difference to your bottom line. EyeQuant offers a free trial – take a look at our results below.
Read more posts in our science of marketing series.