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11 October 2016 / News

How data drives web design

Tom Geekie / Managing Director

When a client is considering a complete site redesign or a new site entirely, this process is effectively progressed through the designer’s approach to maximising the performance of the proposed website.

In addition to a design perspective, the inclusion of a conversion rate optimisation (CRO) evaluation prior to design production can contribute greatly to the effectiveness of the finished product and ability to achieve the desired goals, whether that’s ecommerce or lead generation.

In order to deliver appropriate improvements, there are several key questions that need to be answered to tailor the data towards contributing to the design of the new site, including:

  • What are the main goals of the site?
  • Who is visiting the site?

Where are these users navigating to?

And the overarching question;

  • Why are they not converting?
  • What are the main goals of the site?

Focusing on the end-goal or conversion point of a website is the starting grounds for a redesign; without this, the design may still include existing obstacles that hinder conversion rates, for example if the site’s purpose is to incite users to contact the client through email, telephone etc. then data can be refined to locate where along the conversion path users are abandoning the site.

Understanding this gives direction for the changes CRO will suggest to include. For example, identifying the most straightforward route to the main conversion locations can influence the page content and structure, to ensure users can successfully convert with minimal distractions.

The data found through CRO analysis distinguishes the key pathways taken by users and could highlight potential areas or pages that may not be efficiently driving users closer to the conversion point.

These findings can be referred to by the design team who can omit this page from the redesign to reduce the attention required to reach the conversion point.

Who is visiting the site?

Including CRO from the beginning of a design phase gives access to the demographics of site visitors through processes such as user experience workshops, allowing for an in-depth review of the customer, be it through personas or site structure analysis.

With this information ahead of analysing the user’s behaviour on site, the data CRO presents has a much greater validity to the proposed design. Ensuring the user’s experience is as relevant and personal as possible to increase the engagement on the site and in turn the likelihood of conversion.

This data can help designers to tailor the site specifically to the behaviour of the target user, again, increasing the probability of conversion through understanding what motivates them to visit the site in the first instance.

This enables designers to recognise what is wanted from the product or service, which allows the design to focus on the most important aspects of what is being sold.

Where are these users navigating to?

Clarifying current user intentions is therefore a key strategy to delivering relevant optimisation recommendations; if we identify a visitor’s needs using existing site data, the design can incorporate a structure that should reduce or eliminate the roadblocks discovered.

If a user has to click through ten pages to find a contact number when there is an alternate path on the site less obvious that takes two pages, it becomes an area to look into.
CRO recommendations aim to provide the user with the necessary information at the most suitable point in their journey, creating a smooth process from landing on site to conversion, strengthening the chance of completing the conversion.

Why are they not converting?

Whilst this is obviously a fundamental question asked for every CRO process, with the data collected from the questions above, the pieces of the puzzle all begin to fit together.
If we know who is visiting the site, what their intentions are and what they do (and don’t do) when navigating through the site, then having the opportunity to redesign a website seems like the most fitting time to apply these improvements.

The collaboration of CRO and web design highlights how CRO can seamlessly be involved with the majority of the business to ultimately improve the performance boost a client is hoping to achieve.