Just like the title says – “Is your site working for “Me”? Yep, “me” not you. Me as in… I am the your customer. Me!
I have been doing web work since about 1995. About 19 years or so ago (OMG I can’t believe I just typed that!), I worked at a local health plan as a Medicare Compliance Coordinator. My role was to review Medicare marketing materials that were developed by the health plan to ensure it met the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Some of the things I needed to look for were materials developed for Non-English speaking persons, font sizes, logo and tag lines, product endorsement and testimonials, as well as telephone and TTY information.
So for example the font sizes. All text included on materials, including footnotes, needed to be printed with a font size equivalent to or larger than Times New Roman twelve (12)-point. For product endorsements and testimonials, we needed to make sure that speakers clearly identified the organization by name when referring to them. Also, if there was a paid actor portraying a real or fictitious situation, that the ad clearly stated “Paid Actor Portrayal”. So you kinda get where I am going with all of this, right?
The health plan also had a team that I belonged to that involved Focus Groups. Focus Groups are a group of people who are asked about their perceptions, opinions, beliefs, and attitudes towards a product, service, concept, advertisement, idea, or packaging. Questions are asked in an interactive group setting where participants are free to talk with other group members.
Blah blah blah right :)! Well, I learned a lot about web development through this process. There are so many good businesses out there who I think could do so much better if they invited a group of people to review their website and provide their feedback. Heck, the majority of the websites I visit don’t have a Feedback button, tab, link. (Yikes! I am one of them, so I better get that added up here!)
Just recently I provided development services on a project that was already very nice and well constructed. But the client decided they wanted a responsive theme, more specifically – to combine elements of three different themes into one responsive theme. That was a big project! But I did it!
Because the work was subcontracted to me, I wasn’t present during any of the meetings so I wasn’t able to provide my own feedback and opinion on why I felt they would be “shooting themselves in the foot.” If I had been the main developer on the project, I would have done two things:
- I would have shared my thoughts on this process as they went from an Unresponsive theme to a Responsive theme. There are so many “cons” to switching but it’s really based on your particular business. It all needs to be discussed. I would have been able to demonstrate some of the things that worried me. For this particular project, I would have tried to persuade them to at least remove the responsiveness from the entire theme. This way all of the newly formed elements would behave properly. There are still some kinks in that design that if I had been the lead, would have been fixed – but it was out of my hands.
- I then would have developed the newly Responsive theme on a demo and suggested to the client that they should arrange a focus group based on their audience to gain feedback on how they like the responsive design. Have them try it out on Desktop and all of the mobile devices and get that feedback as well. What did they like and what did they not like. For example, individuals who are totally into revenue generation may not like the fact that their ads display at the bottom or that ads reduce too small. They may not like how the navigation works (standard menu or hamburger menu). Is everything working consistently? The fonts may be too small or they may be to “light” and difficult to read. Does the site scroll too long before reaching the end?
I have had too many clients say, “But I like this and want this one.” Only for me to respond, “I understand you like it, but you are not your customer – you need to make it user friendly and how the end-user would expect for it to work.” Sometimes we can be our own worst advisor.
The last thing an active site owner or blog owner needs is to have a site that once attracted thousands of visitors to lose that traffic all because the new theme isn’t working or performing the way the other theme did. Especially if you are a “brand”. You don’t want to switch to something that is clearly going to destroy your brand.
You can use a focus group on any aspect of your site. Maybe your site is working just fine but content is placed in the wrong area? Maybe you just need to enlarge the font or make your logo larger. Get feedback on the current site before you make drastic changes – like a full redesign that may not have been needed.
There are plenty of online tools you can use to get online feedback, but me personally… I like human interaction. We have gotten so accustomed to doing things electronically that the one-on-one, personal human interaction has gone by the wayside.
Organize a focus group. It could be a fun experience for you.
That’s my tip for Tipsy Tuesday (although it’s Wednesday)!