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I've been thinking a lot lately about how to best utilize WebWord.com. I've been thinking about growth strategies, branding, marketing, and many things that you probably think about too. I've finally hit on an idea that has greatly improved my focus. I'm going to share my ideas about possible user responses with you. This will help focus your site on what your users want and what you want.
You should be concerned first about getting your content developed, your information architecture built, and your site constructed. Then, you need to test your site with real users. I've said these things before.
Here's my big question for you this week, what do you really want your users to do once you get them to your site? What information do you want to get to them? How do you want to them to use your site? What responses do you want from your users?
Let me tell you what I decided on. Here is a list of things, in order from most important to least important, that I want users to do while they are at WebWord.com:
I'll bet that you didn't think of all these possible responses. You're smart enough to think of them, but these responses are probably not in line with your business plan or strategic objectives. Then again, maybe they are.
What did I leave out? What other responses would you like from users? If you have a commerce site, you better be very concerned with the most important response of all: selling your product or service. When someone hits your site, you want the sale. You don't give a hoot about how many pages they view or how much they like your site. You want the sale.
If this is true, then does your site help the user complete this action? Is it easy to shop at your site? Is it easy to contact the sales department, or your consultants, or your sales pages? How usable is your buying process? If it isn't easy, secure, and obvious to users, you will fail to get your favorite response.
There are other responses you'd like from users too. They are harder to define and they are harder to develop, but they are nevertheless important. For example, I'd like to build more community at WebWord.com, so we can learn more from each other. I had considered setting up a discussion board, but I simply don't have time to monitor it and contribute. It is on my (long) list of things to do for you. In any event, if you want a community building response (e.g., posting to your discussion list), you'd better make that easy too. Requiring passwords, and several clicks, won't help you get your desired response. By the way, you can contribute to WebWord.com by sending me an email. Contributors often get free advertising in my newsletter or in articles.
Finally, it should be evident to you that focusing on your user responses will help you and your users. They will find it easy to do business with you, and you will very likely rack up more sales. Usability is improved when you know yourself better, when you know your company better, and of course when you know your users better.
Usability is not always about users, it can be about you and what you want. You can be a bit selfish and improve your web site.
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