Measuring The 'Welcoming', 'Convenience', 'Functionality' & 'Action' Factors Of A Website

When developing a new website, or evaluating an existing site to redesign, there are four important factors related to "user experience" that should be used when gauging and measuring a site's effectiveness:

  1. Welcoming Factor
  2. Convenience Factor
  3. Functionality Factor
  4. Action Factor

By evaluating these key website design and development factors, one can determine how to create the best overall user experience; often while improving the return on investment. These factors can positively affect numerous areas including:

  • increased qualified traffic & interaction
  • improved customer appeal & reach
  • better site usability & function
  • higher lead conversion & sales

While each website design and development factor is important in its own right; each aspect also has an affect on the other.

For example:

  • If a website is not cross browser compatible and only uses Flash, the website may not load on some browsers or systems such as iPhones or iPads.
  • Therefore, if the site fails to load on all browsers, then search engines such as Google, will notice.
  • As a result, due to limited browser compatibility, the search engines will most likely rank the website lower in search results than other sites that do load on all browsers.

For the best end result, it's important to find a balance between all four website factors as a whole.

The "Welcoming" Factor

The Welcoming Factor is used to determine how approachable a website is to visitors and customers:

  • Is the website friendly and inviting?
  • Do customers "want" to interact with the website?
  • Are there aspects of the site that deter customers?

There are many angles from which to look at a website and determine the Welcoming Factor. From color schemes, to pictures and images, to verbiage and content; all these aspects affect how a website reaches out to users with the message of "come on in", versus "enter at your own risk".

  • If a website has a color scheme that is obtrusive (perhaps too bright or hard on the eyes) this may deter customer away.
  • If the home page is cluttered and difficult to navigate, this can deter customers away.

Often, the Welcoming Factor is best gauged by polling consumers, visitors, as well as industry professionals. When polling, ask what they find inviting and encouraging about the website. On the other hand, ask what they find as offensive, distracting, or discouraging to interact with. Always ask for specifics.

The "Convenience" Factor

The Convenience Factor determines how easy or accessible a website is for users. Any area of a site that is difficult, or cumbersome to navigate is a potential area in which a customer may be lost to a competitor website.

Measuring the Convenience Factor of a site should be looked at from every level: including new users, current users, as well as internal employees.

  • Is the website easy to navigate (is the navigation always in the same place)?
  • Is information easy to find, or buried deep, hard to find, and rarely seen?
  • Is it easy to understand where to find needed information?
  • If selling online, how easy is the checkout process?
  • How easy is it for users to find Help related information?
  • Is the website contact information readily accessible, and easy to find?

New customers may be deterred by cumbersome sign-up or request forms. Users who make it past the initial sign-up may be frustrated by lack of online support, or tracking. Both employees and customers may feel undue stress due to the lack of proper tools to assist with questions and needs.

The "Functionality" Factor

The Functionality Factor is used to determine how useful a website is to online customers. A website is worthless if customers can't use it.

  • Is the website responsive and viewable on multiple platforms and browser types such as iPhone, Android (or other mobile devices such as tablets), Windows, or Mac?
  • Does the website require special plug-ins to work (meaning is the user required to have Flash, Javascript, etc or does the website use cross compatible technologies like HTML5)?
  • Do all links and related files properly work and load as expected?

If a website looks great visually, but doesn't work on certain browsers, then the site is useless. If a website requires special, or non-standard plug-ins that require separate downloads, then the site is potentially useless.

In today's world, people are wary to download separate plug-ins due to viruses and other malicious spyware programs. A functional website will work on any computer or browser type, and be completely self sufficient without the need to download additional plug-ins or software.

The "Action" Factor

The Action Factor is used to determine how well the site content is marketed and converts visitors into sales. A site can have great content, but if the content is not setup and marketed properly, then even the greatest content will fail to realize its full potential.

  • Does the site and content inspire the user to take action and proceed (whether the goal is to buy or request more information)?
  • Are CTA's (Calls To Action) used to prompt the user and lead them to proceed?
  • Does the content show users how this product/service will solve their unique issues (how do the features provide benefit to the user)?

A well-developed website will include the integration of specific marketing techniques that compel a user to take action and purchase. The content will not just "tell" users how the product/service works, but will play upon how this product/service will "solve the user's unique issues" with an emotional appeal.

Summary

All four factors, Welcoming, Convenience, Functionality, and Action are extremely important when it comes to gauging a website's effectiveness, and determining areas for improvement.

While sometimes due to the nature of an industry, it may be necessary to limit certain areas (for instance, membership sites or intranets, obviously want to limit outside user interaction) each should be evaluated in its own right with regards to what can be done to better the overall user experience.


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