So this is a broad topic. Let focus it down to digital experience for starters. Offline and digital experience should of course be consistent – your customers see you as one business, not a group of separate departments but I touch more on that in the book.
For digital experience there are many areas to consider but they all stem down to just 5 key streams. These are:
Speed – is it fast to use or am I waiting for it to load all the time?
Content – does the site have what I want?
Navigation – can I find the content I want easily?
Functionality – does everything work the way it should and the way I want it to
Help – if I need it can I get help?
We’ll park content for now as that is closely tied to your content strategy which is discussed elsewhere on the site.
It’s clear to everyone in the 21st century that the Internet has been a major culture changer. One of these changes is an absolute expectation for things to be fast. If your site takes over 10 seconds to complete a task you can expect a major loss of visitors. You need to consider what the technical causes are and whether the site design or page content is really essential. Small changes here can yield enormous results.
Navigation is key. The frustration I have felt when I know the site I’m on must have what I’m looking for but I just can’t find it. It’s easy to blame the visitor for not looking hard enough but it’s not their fault – it’s yours. Make your site easy to use for anyone no matter what their understanding of your business, industry, product range or even the Internet itself. I have worked with a business in the past who buried their key guiding page with all the helpful navigation content on it deep in the site, effectively meaning that people couldn’t find the content that helped them find content. Keep it logical and simple.
Functionality is probably the most basic in many senses but the most common area for errors. Where code breaks and something simply doesn’t work. Broken links, tools that don’t function etc. this is purely about quality checking and maintenance. Many websites get out of control when ownership isn’t clear. Things will go wrong – nothing and no-one is perfect. That’s not a problem. The problem is not knowing something’s gone wrong or knowing and doing nothing. These little things can make you look very silly so ensure your organisation has centralised control and management of your site plus effective change and fix processes.
Help is key. Everyone needs a little help from time to time – it’s not a new concept, I believe The Beatles had a similar thought back in the 1960s. This area is often neglected. When someone is in your conversion funnel do they know exactly how to fill out every box, the format, where to find the information? If they get one wrong are you clear on what happened and why? Is there an FAQ that’s easy to find? A glossary can also be a useful tool (also for SEO). Keep in mind that if you were doing this for the first time would you have any questions? Test, test and test again. Know your visitor.
All of these do of course need much deeper discussion which you’ll find in my best-selling book.