Introduction to human behaviour
How do people behave online? That is the question that market research has been answering time and time again ever since the modern economy has developed and established itself online, and there has been vast quantities of research produced on the subject.
To begin answering this question, we need to first understand the underlying nature of human behaviour and ask "How do people BEHAVE?" (or how do they behave in the more general sense.
Live Demonstration of Human Behaviour
I would like to demonstrate the fact that although we are all unique in our tastes, desires, and perceptions in our own right, in the fundamental sense, we do often consciously or unconsciously display specific repeatable and predictable behaviours. Putting this statement into context, allow me to demonstrate as you read through this article, word by word.
As you are reading this sentence, whether it is on mobile, or desktop, I have the first assumption that you read the sentence from left to right, top to bottom. Am I correct? Well of course I am! It is dependant on the constraints of the language for which I have wrote this article where the structure of reading is left to right and top to bottom. It is what we are taught and is what will be here to stay.
Since that is the first assumption, I will go a step further! There is a 90% chance that if you are on mobile you are using your right hand to hold your phone, with the pinkie finger tucked beneath it for support, and the ring, middle and index finger placed behind your phone using your thumb to scroll and peruse this article.
Or alternatively, if you are on desktop you are using a mouse or a laptop track pad with your right hand to scroll through this article (and if you are, it is likely you have the arrow or the pointer on the right hand side and possibly to the extreme right of the screen where the scrolling tab is!)
What this Demonstration Proves
This is because in a physiological sense, 90% of people are born with the inclination to use the right hand for a significant majority of tasks and computers were designed to be human centric devices and placed a great deal of ergonomics in mind so that they are most compatible for people to use and understand. They were developed with the idea that once computer operations were taught to a person for the first time, any future computer interface that the person operates will come naturally and can do as they require. People are also creatures of habit and therefore are used to the idea of reading from top-down and left to right and have natural inclinations to use their dominant hand for a majority of tasks.
For those that I assumed incorrectly about the indexing of your hand in relation to your screen, I do apologise that I got it wrong. But the reason why things are the way they are is that usability is designed to be "usable" for the majority of people who are likely to use them. As another example, left-handed scissors are designed to be usable by left-handed people (those same people are more likely to be holding the phone in the left hand and even use a mouse with the left hand) in the context of left-handed scissors, it is designed only for left-handed users as to prevent slightly less important things such as a poor cutting profile to more important things such as the health and safety of the individual such as hand strain, or injuries from cuts.
According to a study conducted by Dr. Stanley Coren on "Left-Handedness and Accident-Related Injury Risk" it has been found that left handed people have a 43% higher chance of inflicting an injury upon themselves that required medical attention resulting from right-handed tools and applications. You can read the full study completely free by clicking here! Also, take this as a Public Service Announcement to think if you have left-handed people in your organisation, definitely give them extra consideration see what you can do to make their lives a bit easier and become more productive for you!
Although there is right-hand cognitive bias in our society, it is why marketing works in a scientific manner. It is designed to serve the significant majority by having an understanding of how the majority of people behave, we are able to put better placement of advertising to achieve a desired result. For example, in the fast moving consumer goods industry and supermarkets, did you know that certain companies are willing to pay an additional premium on specific shelf space? Even if you did, I'm going to briefly talk about the most important meal of the day which is breakfast, and a child's favourite cereal: Coco Pops.
A Case Study of Coco Pops: Using Human Cognitive Behaviour to Sell More Cereal
Kellogg's have done vast amounts of research into consumer markets and have found what the average height of their target audience is, what shelving aisles they will want to place it in relation to their target audience, and therefore have determined where eyes of their mascot should be looking towards. The chocolatey cereal is every child's dream to have some way to have their favourite treat in the morning before school and the combined "magical" value where the plain and boring white milk is turned into chocolate milk right before their eyes making the milk more appealing. Sometimes, there is added value of having what us adults would consider an unremarkable plastic toy or trinket provided during sales promotions and for the child to be fed with the desire to start and finish a collection.
Although people are not as susceptible to such trivial marketing practices, children are unfortunately more easily manipulated to be convinced to want Coco Pops in their daily diet. And how can you say no to a child? If you don't give into their desires, they will make sure to irritate you to the point of exhaustion. As a result, it is far easier to give in and say yes and therefore the parent, enslaved by their own child, buys the box of chocolatey cereal on their behalf to avoid disapproval from them.
But how does this apply in the context of the digital environment and more importantly, what are 5 things that you can do to your website to make it more usable for your audience and improve how your website is perceived by the same audience by at least 41%?
To help answer this question, I am going to refer to my own Thesis as a case study when I was conducting research in the field of website usability for construction contractors with a private client.
5 things you can do to improve website usability by 41% for your business today
1 - Place the Menu at the Top of the Page (on Desktop)
Placing the menu at the top of the page on desktop is more modern and is often where people go when trying to find a particular avenue they want to go down. People want a general overview of of your business, what you are about, the services you provide, and some references or testimonials of your work and most importantly how they can contact you for more information. (As a modern construction company, it is likely that you will offer a range of services to both B2B and B2C clients, or even Private Clients, Commercial Clients, Industrial Clients. You can list these services under separate menu tabs and expand on them further)
Some websites choose to have the site menu along the side of the site page which looks confusing for some prospects as that may be where they might see an advertisement and pay less attention to it, becoming confused as to where they are meant to go because it doesn't follow the left to right linear format, but rather top down that people do if they are reading a table of contents. The sidebar aesthetic can prove visually intrusive, which is why having the menu placed in the header of your site and limiting it to up to 5 menu tabs would be the most optimal effect.
Having the header being able to disappear from view upon scrolling will also serve the site usability well by letting more of the site content to be displayed on the screen at the one time. This will allow the prospect to absorb as much information as possible, making it very user friendly for the prospect that will browse your site. People are hard wired and used to finding the menu at the top of the page and will go there when they are looking for something else in relation to your website.
2 - Having a Clear Call to Action
What is the purpose of your website? Are you wanting to have prospects call you directly to evaluate whether you are the correct type of business that could suit their needs? Are you wanting to have them send you an email enquiry for your services so you can arrange a call back at a more suitable time?
Making this objective clear to the end user can genuinely improve your own conversion rate because what you are doing is making the prospect more aware as to what the process is when it comes to asking about your own services. When a direction is made clear and seamless for the user, they are far more likely to engage with you because there is less confusion.
Having multiple Calls to Action in a small area of space can create needless friction in the early establishment of a professional working relationship. While some would argue that the having options and choice would look good for a consumer from their point of view, it can hinder the communications process. Steve Jobs, the late CEO of Apple once famously said that "People don't know what they want until you show it to them." Therefore, it makes more sense from a UI/UX perspective to show the prospect "the one best way" for them to reach out to you and your business, rather than give them a variety of methods of communication.
Having different buttons all leading to a similar end result can cause confusion and even frustration for your prospects and future customers. Just keep the process as simple as possible for both you and your prospects and that way, you can reduce the amount of maintenance required on your website and therefore reduce the amount of resources and time you need to manage it on an ongoing basis. The less things there are to break the better!
This tip, compounded with the next tip can produce some extremely powerful results in optimising your web usability.
3 - Make your Call to Action Buttons Larger and Interactive
I will be one of the first to say "bigger isn't better" but in some points in our lives there is a purpose to making something bigger if it makes something more user friendly.
I'm sure you remember the size of the original iPhone when it initially became released to the public back in 2008. A small glass and aluminium composite curved block had the screen size of 3.5" and an overall length of 4.5". It was able to take photos, play music, browse the internet while having the ability to call and text people.
The first smartphone to hit the market was met with much praise from the media, the critics, and the public, as the first phone with an interactive glass screen and had the processing power of a small computer which was an incredible breakthrough in modern technology. There was only one problem; People wanted more! More screen, more phone, and more functions.
The buttons, though interactive and the screen was intuitive in its design and had an extremely impressive User Interface, were simply too small for the average person to use effectively. Therefore, successive iPhone models became bigger and bigger until people started to think that they were too big for their hands and their pockets to make the user experience enjoyable. Apple took notice of the diverse nature of their audience where some wanted it larger, some liked it smaller, some were happy somewhere in the middle, and some just wanted the look of the phone with less memory, camera features, and so on because they didn't need all of the additional functions.
People want to know that the button they pressed is the correct one and the best way to do that is to make the button interactive. this can be done by making the button turn into a different colour upon clicking it, making a small noise when it is clicked upon, changing the size slightly (or reducing a shadow drop around the box to give user the feeling like they have pressed a button).
The reason that this is important is because it prevents them reloading the page, or even clicking off the website entirely. this is more likely to push the prospect in the right direction to allow them to go through the entire "prospect journey" an have a higher likelihood of becoming a paying customer.
4 - Optimise your Website for Speed
Google and Facebook could be better classed as advertising platforms. As advertisers they are looing to make money by selling you performing ads and they look extremely favourably and love fast, nimble pages. This way, they create the motivation for advertisers and businesses that are running a marketing campaign to reduce the load time for their webpages by offering reduced ad costs in return.
Google, Facebook and other sources of information related to businesses understand the value of a positive user experience and as a result they will optimise the best performing pages as their focus is on the user and keeping them on social media to continue to use their free services and serve them highly profitable advertising.
The average load time for websites is 15 seconds, according to new analysis by googles market research team ThinkWithGoogle, you can read the full report here and be able to get more informed on the topic of mobile webpages and speed. That’s far too slow when you consider faster mobile site speed makes people view more pages on the site, and therefore more likely to convert from a prospect to a lead, a lead to a customer, and a customer to a frequent buyer and advocate of your product or service.
If you consider the optimum time for website load time as 2 seconds or less, you can see that there is a lot of room for improvement that could be made to the average construction website.
If you refer to the link that we provide here taking you to hobo-web.co.uk they provide a huge pile of website statistics that relate to website performance that you can read by clicking here.
They provide a lot of advice but if we were to take the most important points of what they suggest, we would strongly advise reducing image size by converting all high quality .png files and compressing them to .jpg files as they are much quicker to load and will reduce the amount of time it takes for the user to start their journey and begin interacting with your website while getting comparably similar imagery as what they would have with the normal .png files.
Another task that will help to reduce the load time for your potential prospects would be to eliminate and deactivate non-performing and underperforming plugins. Plugins are additional site functions that are integrated into the code of the website to provide additional functions such as embed tracking cookies, send notifications, place advertising on the site itself, collect information and much more.
the problem is that not all plugins are good and integrating unnecessary plugins will slow down your website load speed and impact the user experience and even cause them to click off out of frustration or impatience because the site is too slow for them to use effectively. By implementing just these 2 tips you can improve your website load speed by as much as 5 seconds which is a drastic improvement when compared against your competition. this advice taken in parallel with our 5th and final tip for you to improve your website usability will offer you a landslide competitive advantage.
5 - Optimise your Website for Mobile
The above advise is proves two-fold for mobile pages and websites. As a matter of fact, Facebook just recently announced that their algorithm will;
“…Reduce the reach of websites that are not mobile-optimized by leading users instead to more mobile-friendly sites.”
Mobile-optimized means, in the first place – pages should load fast on mobile and be appropriately structured. (i.e. If your pages are slow, and look disorganised and clunky it is certain that you will pay more to get your ad in front of the same amount of eyeballs, and as a result, your costs per click will skyrocket and it will be more difficult to run effective advertising to your potential prospects through Facebook.)
In Summary and Conclusion
It's kind of interesting why psychology exertions and why general cognitive science produce such interesting results because we're not really as peculiar as we think we are online in the ways in which we behave. If you adopt these tips immediately, it is likely you will see a great improvement in prospects engaging with your company within a few weeks.
It is important that they do not need to pause to clear the mind of everything else that's going on to concentrate too much on your website and want to think logically about what it is that you're trying to communicate in the way you've chosen to communicate it and ride your wave which in a sense. In the fundamental sense of the human psyche, what happens is they are looking to establish a premise, orient themselves and a create a basic picture of who you are.
Impatience, utility, or whatever it may be about, they expect your site to work, and work quickly, but you need to consider design as part of the equation because it will improve the quality of leads that might approach you with offers for work.
If You Want To Receive More Information about UI/UX For your business, Contact SJP Consultancy For A discussion about it and how one might apply UI/UX principles to your website and improve your business for the long term. Contact SJP Consultancy Directly by Clicking Here. if you wish to make an inquiry you can contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org where we will answer any your questions in short working order.