February 14, 2016
by Lori Shecter

A costly mistake when redesigning your website

Your company  has finally pulled the trigger. You are getting a new, responsive up to-date website. This website is going to do everything for your marketing goals:  bring in more leads, more customers, more patients, and bring a fresh feeling to your old brand. You can’t wait to get started redesigning your website (or starting a new website.)

Whether you spend $15,000 or $150,000 (or more) on a new website, the most important feature you should understand is, “will this website do what it is supposed to?”  No matter what your goal (and you may have more than one, )for example:

  • Increase sales – E-commerce
  • Surface up content – easy to find articles, team bios, areas of expertise, etc. or
  • Generate leads via form or phone calls – lead generation

the only way to know for sure if your new design accomplishes your task, is to take it out for a test drive.  How else can you possibly know if that very cool design is going to achieve the results you are praying for?  It is true that many design firms use “personas” to figure out the use case scenario for each user type, but seriously, a “persona” might have absolutely nothing to do with reality.

“But, you say, I don’t have that kind of budget.  To that, I say, you do!

Just ask Ben Babcock, design director at Jet.com (If you don’t know what Jet.com is, check it out…the recently launched, better, cheaper, Amazon. )  And seriously, if it’s good enough for the $500 million funded startup, it’s good enough for me.

Affordable user testing:  First your design team must create an interactive prototype—it might not do everything but it can click to pages, simulate contact forms and add to cart features.  If your team doesn’t have these interactive tools, they should! They are easy to find and inexpensive.

Your sample: taking it on the road.

  • Friends and family
  • Feeling really adventurous? Camp out in a coffee shop and purchase $10 gift cards. Ask a customer to spend 15 minutes with you testing your new product
  • Screen Share: Have a few clients you trust? Set up a screen share and have your computer tape their actions and comments.
  • Have a huge database? Offer your customers a discount on your site for answering questions on your prototype.  Use Survey Monkey to auto collect samples.

And finally:

It is amazing to have a best in class website.  But it is better if that best in class website produces the marketing results you envision.

We Are Immediate designs and develops websites and apps and heavily relies on user experience research to ensure products that produce results.