Know your customer well? Chances are you could do better. Giving Harriet (our user from the last blog post) a blast on your website all comes down to how well you know her. So here are four techniques we can use to create an awesome experience for Harriet.

Personas

Want to get to know Harriet a bit better? Look no further than personas.

What’s it all about?
Personas are a made up profile of your end user. A glance into their personalities, what makes them tick and why they get up in the morning.
Why bother?
Personas bring Harriet to life, influence marketing and keep it consistent. Harriet keeps your business alive, keep her in mind when designing her experience. You need to drill in on those frequent users, and not build a website to serve all. Excite Harriet and this will quickly set you apart from the competition.
How?
Gather your people around, have fun creating your personas. Your own people are a great place to start; but also talk to your end users, profile your social media fans and start to pick apart their personalities. Bring the personas to life by adding intricate, empathetic detail. Start to group personas by activity - buying, looking, comparing. Design a website for Harriet and where she is on her journey with your business. Personas need to be living documents, ready to change when your business does. Share them with everyone who delivers anything to Harriet.

Card Sorting

We could argue about great website navigation all day long, card sorting helps solve this.

What’s it all about?
A cheap, simple way to find out how Harriet wants to use your website. Carried out in a real situation, anyone taking part has to really think about how they play with a website.
Why bother?
Faced with a new website to design, card sorting can take away navigation guesswork and help to order categories and pages in a way that makes sense. Low cost and easy to do, but it relies on real patterns emerging from the work.
How?
Start by jotting down key website pages on cards. Ask willing (or unwilling!) volunteers to group the cards and add a name for each of the groups. Watch the session and encourage banter, really get to grips with the way users think and act.

Analytics

Data, you either love it or hate it. But you can’t deny it’s value. On a redesign project it tells us the real story of what has gone before.

What’s it all about?
Analytics are fact based results of a website, and it can cover all sorts. How Harriet found a website, links she clicked on, time Harriet spent on various activities, parts of the website Harriet didn’t visit. They can cover the journey Harriet took on the website, any abandoned shopping carts...well you get the idea...a huge amount of data exists.
Why bother?
Presented with a shed load of reports what’s the point? Well, this info is fact. And you can’t argue with fact! Highlighting issues with a website, and pointing out well performing areas, we can’t rave enough about how useful web analytics can be for your business. Often the staggering quantity of data puts people off.
How?
Set time aside. Squeezed for time this one normally goes out the window. So look at only one or two key results. Set objectives in line with your web performance. This one is personal to your website and your ambitions; are you excited about increasing number of visitors? Concentrating on conversions? Or obsessed with stickiness? An end goal will allow you to use the analytics to see how your website performed. Conclude with results, and share with your people. Celebrate successes, exploit opportunities, improve areas with issues.

Customer journey

What does Harriet really go through when she becomes your customer?

What’s it all about?
A detailed picture of all Harriet’s interactions with a business. From the moment Harriet hops on board, and everything in the story that follows.
Why bother?
Mapping this journey can throw out inconsistencies, communication gaps, and identify where customers are lost along the way. With these maps we can join Harriet in her journey, and see how she finds and interacts with a website. From the moments she wants to throw her ipad out the window, to the ones a website thrills her, turning Harriet into a frequent visitor and advocate.
How?
Commit Harriet’s journey to paper, a timeline of what happens and when. Include:
Channel - Website, Twitter, Facebook, phone, email and so on.
Activity - Is Harriet surfing the web, tweeting, receiving email or picking up the phone?
Bring it to life by adding how Harriet feels about your business. For example, a late parcel equals unhappy, crying face emoji. A responsive website equals a happy face emoji (streamers, party hats, fireworks optional).

You can go to town and load these journeys with detail, but equally useful is a simple journey. The important thing is to act on what you have discovered.

Just a taster, and there are a raft of other techniques we can use to get to grips with who Harriet is before we start the journey of designing your website. They ensure the end result is an awesome experience, leaving your user desperate to return. And they can help your whole business, not just the online experience. Wanna give it a go?  Start with personas. See what you come out with and how they can make a difference to your business.

Come and talk to us and see how we can turn your website into something wonderful.

Next time - we breath life into user experience, real examples from our portfolio.