89% of customers search the web before they make a purchasing decision. In most cases, a website is the prospect’s first impression of a company and its offerings. Thus, the look and feel of the website are the primary drivers of those first impressions.
It is not surprising that aesthetics are a decisive factor for engaging online users. In fact, users spend no more than a split second to form an opinion about a website. More importantly, 94% of these opinions are design-related.
However, there’s more going on under the surface that Web marketers must consider in order to convert a visitor into a customer or follower.
In this article we’ll discuss the three ingredients of conversion rates: Utility, Usability and Likability. When users complete a call to action, they've resonated at all three areas.
Utility is simply the product or service that a website offers, in other words - the value proposition. The site must offer value, then be able to deliver on the promise.
Utility explains how the offering solves customers’ problems or improves their situation. It delivers specific benefits and tells the ideal customer why they should buy from the business and not from the competition.
This value proposition is the number one reason that determines whether people will bother reading more about your product or hit the back button. The value proposition should be visible on all major entry points of the website. This is not just for aesthetics or copywriting purposes; it is to improve the customer lifetime value of the business.
Usability is the extent to which a site can be used with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction. Good usability makes the call to action clear to the user.
For a site to be usable, it must have clarity, which is by far the most important aspect for every page of a website. Why? Because a site needs to make it clear that users follow them rather than a competitor. If the UI is confusing, the users cannot focus on the content or value proposition.
The website’s design should be user-friendly and simple. Highly converting websites distinguish prettiness from usefulness. True beauty in a site or product has to be more than skin deep. To be truly beautiful, wondrous and pleasurable, the site has to fulfill a useful function, work well, and be understandable.
Likability depends upon the beholder. It's the comfort zone between being too boring at one axis and creating anxiety at the other. There's no perfect formula here, everyone has different tastes, but getting within range is the key.
To create visual appeal, a site must be appropriately designed towards the demographic of the user. Site owners need to understand who their users are. With this understanding, the foundation of the UI and content can be built upon.
For example: Simple elegant sites with lots of white space appeal to users of luxury brands, while sites with overwhelming content jammed into every corner might appeal to younger audiences.
Ultimately the goal of a website is to lead the user to take action. Perhaps it’s getting the user to agree with your point of view, make a purchase, or come back again to see more content. Each element on your site should be oriented towards converting the user to what you want them to do. The headlines, subheads, copy, images, navigation and icons all have a role to do, and each must do it’s job effectively in order to increase your conversion rates.
Conversion rates sit at the intersection of Utility, Usability and Likability. Users successfully complete a call to action when they've found what they needed, were comfortable with the site, and were able to easily complete an instruction.
Utility: The site offers value and can deliver on the promise.
Usability: The architecture of the site encourages a call to action.
Likability: The site is appropriately designed towards the demographic of the user. The site is not too boring, yet it doesn't create anxiety.
"Usability-Context, framework, definition, design and evaluation". Shackel, B. & Richardson, S. (Eds.), Human Factors for Informatics Usability
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