Customer-centric website design is the #1 UX design principle that most businesses ignore.
How often do you visit a website and think:
“Wow, that’s exactly what I need”?
Probably not that often.
46% of people will leave a website because of a lack of message (it’s not clear what the company does), and 37% will leave because of poor design or navigation.
The solution: Customer-centric web design (or what others call user-centered design)
You probably heard this a thousand times:
Nobody cares about your product or services. Everything they are interested in is what you can do for them.
The business that wins the battle to prove they know what the customer needs and they’re able to fulfil those needs will win the sale and boost their bottom line.
You need to be that business.
We’re going to show you how customer-centric website design can transform your business and improve pretty much all web and business metrics.
What Is Customer-Centric Website Design?
Customer-centric website design is the process of developing your website around the needs, wants, and behavior of your target customer.
It is a mindset change from creating a website that you think is beautiful to creating a place that solves your customer’s problems.
The goal should be to provide the optimal experience for your user.
You need to determine who your customer is and create the content, features, and functionality they want.
That’s right, it’s time to stop the hard sell.
The days of bombarding customers with sales jargon that means nothing to your user and exaggerations of product excellence are over.
It’s all about knowing your audience thoroughly and appealing to their needs.
Here is a great video that explains the user-centered design process pretty well:
Customer-centric design is not bending over backward to give in to all customer demands and suggestions.
It’s deciphering feedback and behavior patterns to create a better experience for your customers as a whole.
Simply put, it’s about solving problems for your customers through design.
Remove the obstacles standing between them and the information or product that they need.
Think about how much time you could save for your customers by giving them what they’re looking for ASAP.
Why You Need to Become
We are bombarded with over 11 hours of media interaction each day and if you want to stand a chance at convincing your user to stop and pay attention then you need to make it worth their while.
As consumers, we’re more attuned than ever to marketing tactics.
So we crave authentic customer experiences. We know when brands have really considered us and when it’s all just talk.
When we start to implement the features and functionality of a customer-centric website, the following happens:
- The onsite engagement increases
- Bounce rates decrease
- Revenue is increased
- Your customer feels a stronger attachment to the brand
- You can improve your value proposition through clear feedback
I can’t imagine a business owner who wouldn’t want to achieve these objectives, and it’s not out of your reach.
All you have to do is avoid common mistakes and follow some simple rules of customer-centric design.
Are You Making These Mistakes When Designing a New Website?
I’ve talked about what customer-centric web design can do for a business, now let’s take a moment to discuss where businesses go wrong with website design.
Unfortunately, in most cases, the problems are not as obvious that this one:
It’s easier than you think, so take some time to consider the following mistakes and their easy solutions.
Are you guilty of falling into these common traps?
I. You Haven’t Created a Customer Profile
When you try to speak to everyone, you in fact target no one.
Generalized marketing is the enemy when it comes to customer-centricity.
No matter how many people your business could appeal to, your target audience is not “everyone”.
Knowing your customer profiles (or buyer personas) is crucial to designing customer-centric websites.
Over 70% of businesses that exceed their revenue and lead goals have clearly defined customer profiles.
That’s not all, as 82% of brands feel that buyer personas have improved their value proposition since defining their buyer personas.
More money and a better understanding of your customers’ needs.
The Complete Customer Profile Toolbox
Get everything you need to determine and create your ideal customer profile in the next 24 hours and start boosting retention & revenue.
Your customer profile is a sort of fictional ideal customer based on research and real data about your existing customers.
To create your profiles, take a closer look at customer demographics, behaviors, motivations, and goals.
You want specific and descriptive customer profiles in mind in order for this to work.
We’ve created the ultimate customer profile template to help you get started. You’ll have your profiles defined in no time.
II. You Haven’t Encouraged Honest Feedback
The major skill you need to hone for customer-centered design is listening.
You need clear and encouraging feedback channels that allow customers to tell you what works and what doesn’t.
Often our feedback processes aren’t producing valuable results because of the language or methods we have in place.
Here are a few simple and actionable tips to improve the likelihood of specific and helpful feedback:
- Ask open questions instead of asking for a score
- Ask specific questions instead of requesting “feedback”
- Reach out directly
- Create a survey
- Don’t forget to say thank you when you receive feedback!
Another way to get honest and specific feedback is user testing.
Usability tests are a valuable tool because you can actually watch users interacting with your website.
This adds additional insight into audience behavior because you can see what they are drawn to, what confuses them and what makes them want to see more.
There are inexpensive services out there such as usertesting.com that help you to identify and eliminate problems.
By combining customer feedback and user testing you begin to build a strong basis for design decisions to be qualified and implemented.
III. You’re Listing Product Features Instead of Describing How Their Life Will Change
Marketing tactics have changed a lot in the last few decades and our approach to selling goods and services needs to evolve with the changes.
Advertising used to be very driven by brands listing product features and telling the customer as much information about the product as possible.
Now, consumers are much more brand savvy and instead of listing features we need to start convincing customers of the benefits that our product or service provides.
We need to show them the transformation in their lives.
Remember those customer profiles?
Understanding the motivations of your target audience mean that you can articulate the benefits that will appeal to them the most.
It’s as if we’re connecting the dots between customer desires and your product.
Examples of Customer-Centric Website Design
Let’s look at three examples and decipher the tactics they have used to support their approach:
With Mixpanel’s site, straight away you can see that the design is clear, attractive and easy to navigate.
At second glance you can also see that they have multiple landing pages, broken down by industry by industry and role.
At second glance you can also see that they have multiple landing pages, broken down by industry by industry and role.
This enables them to address the unique features and benefits for those segments.
You might have many different customer profiles and individual landing pages will be vital for outlining the personalized value proposition for each.
There are some great pointers to be taken from the Orca Money website design.
Firstly, the Call-To-Action button stands out from the page, guiding the user to the desired outcome.
Secondly, the most important information is above the fold.
This is vital to inform and attract the customer at first glance without them needing to search.
Finally, the image ties the content and the user together to allow a clear picture in the users’ head about what to expect from Orca.
A very strong method in directly engaging the customer is to specifically mention them straight off.
Wio Wireless has clearly identified its target customer and mentioned them in the headline.
This immediately assures the customer they are in the right place and that Wio Wireless is going to solve a problem or need that they have.
You can see that below the header, the next thing that Wio Wireless does is to describe the problem that they are solving.
In just one scroll, your user knows that this is a place for them and there is a solution to their problem.
That is the epitome of customer-centric website design.
How to Create a Customer-Centric Website
You should have picked up a few tips and tricks so far to start your journey to a more user-focused approach.
That means it is time to get into some of the core principles of customer-centric design.
Bear these in mind when thinking about your customers and how to appeal to them.
1. Always Improve
Change your mindset from one-off-project web design to ongoing improvements. You should be aiming to make small iterations regularly based on the feedback system you have set up.
This allows you to improve your offering in line with customer feedback and to earn your buyer’s trust over time.
2. Remember Who is Boss
(Hint: It’s not anyone in your business) Let your customers make the design decisions not the executive team who often aren’t skilled in design thinking. We all think we know what works but make sure that your internal processes are supporting your new approach.
3. Use Data to Make Decisions
Usability tests, website analytics, feedback surveys – use the data at your disposal to back up website design decisions and changes. Don’t be tempted to make changes based on assumptions alone.
4. Functional over Fancy
Don’t try to design the most beautiful website you can. Of course, you want the design to look good but the focus is on enabling customers to find the information they need quickly. This is not a treasure hunt for the customer.
5. Talk the Talk
Use your customer’s language, not yours. Pay attention to how customers describe what you do and update your website content to reflect this. Too often we get caught up in our own ideas about how to portray the brand and forget who we’re trying to sell to.
6. Solve the Problem
As we saw with the examples before, it’s crucial to make it clear exactly what problem you are solving for the customer. If your customer has to try and figure out what you can do for them, it’s not working. Be clear, concise and obvious.
7. Make Yourself Available
This should go without saying but we see this simple mistake all the time. Businesses make it difficult to get in touch with them. You need to include your contact details in plain sight, not hidden in a maze of click-throughs. Again, if the user can’t find the information they want quickly, you’ll lose them.
8. Forget Your Ego!
Your website is for your customers, not you. So don’t be discouraged when something you try to implement is proved to be a no-go with users. Take everything as a learning experience and a tool to improve your business.
The truth is that just like anything else, you’ll get better at this as you start to implement and receive feedback.
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Transform Your Web Design Today
We hope that this guide has helped you to see that the power shift from companies to buyers doesn’t need to be a disaster.
Embrace the change and switch your approach to customer-centric website design and your business will reap the benefits.
To survive in such a competitive market you need to know your customers inside out and design a website addressing their needs.