Let’s talk about user experience. What is it? When it comes to websites, user experience (sometimes abbreviated as UX) is just how someone interacts with a website. Your user’s experience on your website can make or break your conversion. Many folks start work on their website and their goal is to make it “fun” or “edgy” or “pretty” and while none of those goals are bad, they should all take a backseat to your user experience.

Let me share an example. Today in my inbox I got an email from a sandwich shop that often delivers sandwiches in a timely manner. (You know who I’m talking about.) The email offered up a free sandwich. Great! I like free sandwiches. So I clicked on the link.

The link took me to the order page, but there was no information about the free sandwich. I need to know if it was any sandwich, which sandwich, if I had to buy one to get one, etc. Basically, all the information I needed to complete the transaction, but was missing from the email. However, when I clicked the link, it didn’t say anything about a free sandwich.

So I thought maybe I had to login first. So I logged in. After I logged in, there was a big graphic of one particular sandwich. It didn’t actually say that the sandwich was free, but it said “Add one to your order” so I figured this was probably the free sandwich. So I clicked on the graphic, so I could add one to my order.

And…. nothing happened. They put that graphic right there, told me to add one to my order, but didn’t make the graphic clickable. So now if I want my free sandwich, I have find it in the menu and add it to my cart.

Ok, so I’m really dedicated to this free sandwich now, and so I find it, add it to my cart. After I do, I see a banner ad pop up on the page telling me to “redeem” my free sandwich. I click it and…. it doesn’t work. Because the sandwich I saw in the original ad, the one I assumed was what they were offering for free, was not in fact the one that was being offered for free. It was just an ad.

a picture of a sub to demonstrate user experience

What’s the moral of this story?

And why do I care so much about sandwiches?

It’s not about the sandwich. It’s about the user experience. This company is a large company that I assume has a large, full-time marketing team, but somehow, they missed the mark on this completely.

They sent a marketing email to me, telling me I could have a free sandwich. (Which is great! People love emails for free stuff!) But they didn’t include any details in the email about how to redeem the sandwich. When I clicked the link, there were also no details about the free sandwich. When I finally did see information about a sandwich, it wasn’t clickable to add it to my cart, and when I finally did figure out how to redeem the sandwich, it turned out the one I thought was free was not free.

For a million dollar corporation, this was a marketing fail. It should never be this hard someone to place an order with you.

You might be thinking, “But they are giving it away for free… why should they make it easy.” Companies don’t give away things for free out of the goodness of their hearts. This is a marketing technique because they know you probably won’t just take your free sandwich and go. You’ll buy another sandwich or two, or add chips and a drink. They got you to go from cooking your own meal to ordering a meal for your entire family and it only cost them $5.95.

User experience matters. How many potential sales will this restaurant lose because the process of going from the advertising email to order completion is confusing and complicated?

I’m a person who makes websites, who spends all day on websites, and I found it hard to navigate around for my free sandwich. If I found it hard to do, then their average customer will likely find it hard too.

When you are planning your website, it’s important to think about what you want your user to do, and how to make it as easy as possible to do that. If you want the conversion, then it needs to be easy and straightforward. Yes, it should look nice and it can be fun and edgy too if that’s important to you. But it should work and work well. That’s the priority.

Need help with your website’s user experience? Contact us today for a quote.

Amy Masson

Amy is the co-owner, developer, and website strategist for Sumy Designs. She's been making websites with WordPress since 2006 and is passionate about making sure websites are as functional as they are beautiful.

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