3 ways to give your product the digital check-up it deserves
You’ve got a website or an app. People are coming to it. And your analytics are telling you that people are engaging with it. Nothing to worry about, right?
If you haven’t heard this already (shock, horror!), digital products are living and breathing things that need constant nurturing. So, if you’re sitting back thinking that what you’ve got is good enough, chances are it could be working much harder for you.
Just because it ain’t broke doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make it better, but where to start?
There are 3 key types of activities you can consider, depending on where you are on your digital journey. Each will put your website, app or portal through its paces and give you tangible insights you can use to help drive decisions. You could call this giving your product a bit of a digital check-up.
1- UX Audit
From a design point of view, a good place to start is to review the user experience you’re providing. Identify key user journeys on your site and go through them with a fine-tooth comb. Are there any inconsistencies? Are there any dead-ends that prevent your users to move on to a next stage? Are issues relevant on both desktop and mobile?
It’s often helpful to get a UX expert to do this piece of work as they will come in with a fresh pair of eyes. They’ll pick up things that you may have missed, especially if you’ve been working on your site for some time. It’s also worth mentioning that user behaviours change, so getting that external expertise could provide you with best practice recommendations, as well as new ideas you may want to consider to optimise the experience.
2- Usability Testing
Usability testing is a highly effective way of quickly identifying any improvements you should include in your backlog. By asking real users to complete specific tasks on your product, you can start tracking user needs that may not be (or badly) met in your current experience. This can be done in person or through screen-sharing facilities. By following the steps users go through, testers are in a position to question a user anytime there seems to be a moment of confusion or hesitation, in real-time. This ultimately leads us to understand the ‘why’ someone has behaved the way they have- and often delivers some quite surprising reasons you may not have even considered!
When doing usability testing, we’d recommend recording the sessions (with the user's permission of course), not only to be able to go back to the test if needed, but to edit out some of the best quotes and ideas that have come out of it. Putting these clips together is a great way to get senior buy-in to understand the value of doing some improvements. We’ve seen lots of boardroom 'jaw-drop moments' when senior stakeholders hear the feedback directly from their customers’ mouth!
3- Growth & Optimisation
Another approach is to be more quantitively-led and you can only achieve this by looking at your analytics and data. To be able to gather significant insights this way, your site needs to have been set-up with all necessary tags, funnels, goals and other attributes that you’re looking to track to understand how users are converting. There are a number of tools which can help provide data insight above and beyond Google Analytics, such as Hotjar, Eyequant and VWO. But no matter the tool, when it comes to growth and optimisation, whether that be through SEO, content, design or technical improvements, you’ll need to have a longer-term view.
Unlike a site UX audit or a usability test which can be delivered as one-off projects, optimisation requires a sustained effort, on a weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly basis. Developing a roadmap to apply incremental changes is key - and being flexible to modify this plan based on incoming data points is the only way to see tangible and successful results.