4 Usability Secrets to Improve Your Website Performance
Want to improve your marketing results without a major redesign or even breaking a sweat? Follow these best practices and you will see significantly improved results in short order. In February we talked about "Making Your Redesign Payoff" http://www.floorpop.com/Floorpop020205.html. Also, in "Usability Testing Homebuilder Websites" http://www.floorpop.com/Floorpop120303.html, we shared our easy yet effective approach to usability testing your website. But, how do you make the design usable and effective at delivering the maximum number of leads?
According to the Nielsen Norman Group, the average improvement in sales and conversion rates from a simple user-centered redesign is 100%. This is without adding anything new. By just improving the consumer interaction you can improve results. Our own experience with homebuilders show significantly higher improvement levels than those reported by Nielsen.
So, what can you do to improve results?
Reduce the number of links on your pages. This raises the relative importance of those remaining links. Consider moving links to news, jobs, awards, and other non-product information into your "about us" section. Think about your main users and their goals.
Lead your users where you want them to go. This is simple to do by highlighting the importance of links to those areas. If you want them to go from your homepage to your communities page, consider a larger more noticeable link to this page on the homepage. Think size and color to bring attention to the link. If a user is on your community page and you want them to register or drive out the community, make sure the link to driving directions and the registration link re prominent on the page.
Simplify your navigation. While there is no magic number of clicks your users should have to navigate to a plan page, you can make your site much more usable by consolidating and making comparisons easy. Consider providing side-by-side comparisons of elevations and plan statistics so users can more quickly narrow their choices. By this method, users are also not burdened with the pogo-stick effect or clicking links just to verify that the plan is unsuitable for their needs. Finally, consolidate your plan pages so that in one view, your users can see elevations and a thumbnail of your floorplans.
Speed up your website. Users are impatient and goal directed. Even with most users on broadband today, don't expect users to be satisfied with a 20 second download of every page. They probably came to your website to consider your products and the lifestyle attributes of your communities. Carefully consider your users' goals before adding heavy images or flash objects. Home shoppers usually want to see fairly large images of your elevations and floorplans, but are less interested in flash introductions and other branding information.
Do you want a website and marketing platform that produces industry leading results? Give me a call at 817-658-7698 and I would be glad to personally show you how we can help.
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