Give website users what they want


I’ve lost track of the number of websites I’ve been on that won’t give me the information I am looking for. I see this as being one of two reasons – either lack of user centric design (don’t know what people want), or trying to hide the info on purpose (hidden agenda).

Lack of user focus

As someone who designs and builds websites as well as a user of websites, I see this from both sides of the fence. Some clients only want to talk about themselves. When copy starts with ‘here at Acme widgets inc, we believe that…” it’s a sign they either don’t know what their customers want, or are stroking their own egos rather than giving visitors what they want. Focusing on benefits and facts will give people what they are looking for.

For example:

  1. When I’m looking for a gym, I want to know whether I need a membership or whether I can PAYG and whether they have a squat rack/deadlift area or it’s just a shiny room full of exercise bikes. This is impossible with most gym websites.
  2. With a co-working space, I want to know what times they are open and whether it’s paid by membership, by the hour or by the day. Do they have a Skype room and offer refreshments?
  3. If I’m looking for self storage, I want to know how big, how much per month and what’s allowed. I don’t want to enter my details and get spammed with marketing crap.

Obviously as a business owner, we don’t necessarily know what our customers or clients want from our site. This is easy to remedy though by testing the site out with a few people in our target audience. It doesn’t take long and can be done via email – give them a task and see how they get on or just ask them if it meets their needs and makes sense.

Being intentionally vague or tricky

Some sites just won’t give you what you need for various reasons. In web design, people often ask how much a website is and there is no answer to that question without going through a brief and writing a proposal, so we can’t just put a price on that. If your product or service can vary in scope and price, encouraging contact to discuss things makes sense.

Other sites just want your details for marketing purposes and make you enquire. This is all about what the business owner wants and not focused on the customer/client at all.  Personally, I’ll just go somewhere else. I feel like there’s a fleecing or unwanted marketing materials coming my way if I sign up. No thanks.