5 Tips for User Centric Approach to Conversion Rate Optimization

                      What is a “User-Centric Approach”


In this article, we will cover how we use User-Centric Design (USD) to create successful conversion rate optimization programs. Before diving in, we must answer the question: “What is USD?”

User-centric design is, at its core, a method of thinking that puts users front and center when designing a website. 

Keep in mind that visual appeal is not the only component of USD. Websites and apps can be beautifully designed works of art but may fail to meet the user’s basic needs when it comes to usability, function, and value.

So a User-Centric Approach to conversion rate optimization requires you, the website owner, to first anticipate the user experience throughout all stages of the ideation and design process for an AB test, and then implement what is most functional while maintaining visual flow.


                        User-Centric Approach for CRO


In previous articles, we have discussed how data is a key factor in designing a user experience. 

Harnessing the data allows you to identify where users may be having a less-than-optimal experience that’s preventing them from converting, hence lowering your conversion rate. Some key things that will tell you whether your user experience is optimal include the following:

  • Bounce Rate
  • Time on Page
  • Scroll Depth
  • Average pages per session


Each of these can provide clues as to how users are navigating through and experiencing your website. What you gather from the data will help you to make hypotheses around how you can update your website to increase conversion rate.

We are going to discuss some top tips for how to use user-centric design to conversion rate optimization and build winning AB tests.


              Top 5 Tips for User-Centric Approach to CRO


Based on Gold Tree Consulting’s experience working with data and the user in mind, we have focused our conversion optimization efforts on the following AB testing tips:

  1. Identify the top “conversion path”
  2. Identify where the bounce rate is “inflamed”
  3. Understand the “hot” and “cold” spots on a page
  4. Find out what is “hidden” from website visitors
  5. Test everything! Even the small things.



1. Identify the top “Conversion Paths”


To understand this tip, we need to understand what a “conversion path” is.  A conversion path for an e-commerce website or a B2B software website is the same. 

It is the most traveled road to conversion. 

The “road” consists of every web page a website visitor sees before making the final decision to purchase, submit a lead form, or download a pdf.

For example, a website visitor looking for a new wristwatch may visit Jack Mason and navigate from the home page to the best sellers page, then to a product page, then back to bestsellers to view another product, and then finally convert. You can see that this user visited 5 different pages before actually converting.

If this is the most common conversion path, then the majority of website visitors who convert follow the same page-by-page road.

Now that we have identified the top conversion path, we can start building a user-centric design for an AB test. Some hypotheses about the path may include:

  • If I add these buttons, they will help website visitors find this conversion path more easily
  • If I add this pop-up, then it will get users to the 3rd step of the conversion path more quickly
  • If I add this banner, users will more easily be able to find best sellers

One of the keywords in these hypotheses is “easily”. The user-centric design normally helps users find what they want quickly, easily, and in an enjoyable manner.



2. Identify where the bounce rate is “inflamed”


Bounce rate is a common occurrence when it comes to website design. It is essentially the time and place a user leaves your website or their “exit point.” 

So, you can see how decreasing bounce rate might lead to large gains in conversion rate.

Bounce rate can vary from website to website depending on your website’s purpose. For example, if you are selling a product on your website, you are going to see a bounce rate change from page to page depending on the user journey. If you are a B2B website and providing information, you are going to see bounce rates remain pretty consistent for landing pages.

Now the question you should ask yourself is “Where does the bounce rate get out of control on my website?” This will lead you to a place where users are most likely having a poor user experience. 

Some key things to consider when identifying an “inflamed” bounce rate are:

  • This is a high traffic landing page within your website
  • The bounce rate is significantly higher than other landing pages
  • The bounce rate is within the range of 80-95% of sessions

If your landing page matches these qualities, it may be inflamed. This should lead you to wonder why users dropping off, as well as ask the following:

  • Are they not finding what they expect?
  • Is the wrong traffic landing on this page (ads)?
  • Are users seeing the whole landing page (scrolling down to useful info)?
  • Am I confusing users with too much information?

These are just some questions that can help you build strong AB tests using comprehensive testing tools to decrease the bounce rate and increase conversions.



3. Identify the hot and cold spots on a page


So what exactly are hot and cold spots on a page? 

A hot spot is a place where users are most frequently engaging with your page. An example of this would be a CTA button on your home page that says “Add to Cart.” 

A cold spot is an exact opposite, which is a spot that is frequently ignored. You can identify this through testing tools like Hotjar or event setups.

This kind of information is extremely user-centric because it tells you how your users are interacting with each page. It will help you identify what is drawing the most attention and what is being disregarded. 

With this information, you can develop a user-centric AB test knowing that users will most likely follow the same behavior pattern you have identified.

For example, you may notice your home page’s navigation options are the most engaging component on the page (the hot spot). Is there a way you can highlight the navigation in a more clear and easy way for the user to identify and use? 

An example of this might be adding a CTA into your navigation that drives users to the most popular page after visiting your home page.

 


 

4. Find out what is “hidden” from users


Point number 4 is really a follow-up to point number 3. 

The parts of your website that are “hidden” from users are the areas of a page that you deem valuable or useful for a conversion, but that users aren’t actually noticing. 

There is a chance that users are not finding this information, design, or value because you are not using a user-centric approach.

AB testing is a great way to uncover what might be “hidden.” For example, if you see that most users are only scrolling down 50% of your homepage, you might have hidden value further down the page that they’re not seeing. 

This may prompt you to run an AB test where you switch sections of your home page to see if users convert better with content situated higher up on the page. A lot of the time reviews, social validation, and articles about your business may be hidden below the 50% mark.

Another thing to consider is why your users are noticing only the first 50% of a page, or a certain CTA, or a certain carousel of products. 

Using AB testing tools and session recording tools will help you understand why users respond well to these components, and might also create a domino effect that leads you to other user-centric designs for your website.

For example, if you have a home page with two primary CTAs and a carousel of products, and you notice that 50%+ is navigating through the carousel, then something is more attractive to those users than what you are offering in your CTA. 

Your AB tests should be used to uncover why and how you can use that behavior to increase conversion.



5. Test Everything! Even the Small Things 

This one may seem simple, but that is the point! The simplest changes can have the largest impact on your conversion because simplicity usually means “easy for a user to understand.” 

Complex infographics, animations, or design changes can actually lead to decreases in conversion rate because they are complicated and distracting. Focus on what is going to keep the experience simple for users. Remember simple = user-centric design.

At Goldtree, we recommend our clients queue up between 5-10 simple changes for their user-centric AB testing roadmap and just run through them. 

Since they are simple, developing and implementing them into AB tests should be fairly easy and low cost. Use some of the strategies mentioned above and you will see that simple changes can have far-ranging impacts on your conversion rate.


Conclusion

As you move forward with your AB testing journey, use these tips to create AB tests that are not only based on data but are focused on what the user needs. This will lead to more conversions and unlimited growth potential on your website.

  1. Identify the top “conversion path”
  2. Identify where the bounce rate is “inflamed”
  3. Understand the “hot” and “cold” spots on a page
  4. Find out what is “hidden” from users
  5. Test everything! Even the small things.

Your perfectly optimized content goes here!

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