Your eyes are bigger than your stomach, Rachel. A chant that holds true every time I find myself in front of a smorgasbord of yummies. I love buffets – all you can eat and explore and let me tell you I can put down. [They call me Groceries here at Redonk…among other things I’m sure.] But have you ever noticed that some buffets just don’t have intuitive flows?
Questioning the line flow
- How can I stack my plate a mile high without bumping into others?
- Why can’t I have access to the right food in the right order? (Rice should always be first and then pile everything else on top so why do you have it in the middle of the table?)
- How do I not accidentally reach over (and spill) my plate into other entrees?
- How do I know what label goes with what dish?
This is all too complicated! I just want to live the American dream and stuff my face.
Clearly in this scenario we should rethink the need for so much food (probably all GMO and fake at this point). But from a user experience eye it really hampers the experience. I continue and press on, but the fear and uncertainty that I am missing out by forgetting something or not finding what I need is echoing in the back of my mind. Sometimes I question if going through this line flow will be worth it.
The same holds true on your e-commerce website.
Questioning the UX flow
The user arrives expecting something to satisfy their hunger and they want it fast and easy.
If we don’t understand their needs we can be left with hungry cranky users.
- Where is your contact info? I just want to talk to someone.
- I’m already logged in, why do you need my information again?
- I can’t read this on my phone!
- Is this item in stock?
3 Courses to improving your UX:
1. Understand customer needs
- Ask them in person through surveys, social channels and/or remote user testing. You don’t need elaborate usability studies to gather great insights.
- Tap into customer service data to understand trending patterns causing friction and common customer questions. Analytics are great but sometimes they don’t tell the full story.
- Understand the big picture through mapping the broader customer journey. Better brand experiences require a human centered approach to consistency between channels.
2. Optimize to ever-changing needs
- Simplify the purchase flows for less friction by including people-friendly navigation taxonomy and step reducing flows. Thoughtful micro-interactions can help make the UX flow a delightful experience.
- Challenge conventional thinking. Sometimes you need fresh perspective and thinking. Make your agency a trusted partner and hold each other accountable to shared goals.
- Make testing an ongoing practice and include A/B testing, surveys and competitive benchmarking. If you can’t make your customers happy then someone else will so know how you stack against your competitors.
3. Iterate. Iterate.
- Analyze the outcome to measure conversion rate, increase in average order value and overall customer satisfaction. Good results can be short lived, so never allow yourself to get too comfortable.
- Allow data to settle debates but have courage to try new ways to solve user needs. Sometimes innovative ideas are born outside the data silo.
- Adopt, refine and continue to test based on changing customer needs, technology and business goals. Lean and agile teams can evolve your UX rapidly and adjust quickly to changing business needs.
Focus on people first and think outside the boundaries of your technology platform. Maybe the size of the room and its machinery hinders the organization of the buffet table. No matter the limitations, improving the experience will reduce the friction, speed up the process and fill the plates.
At Redonk we love this stuff. Holler if you want ideas on how you can improve your user flows and which jello to avoid. #IntuitiveBuffets