Successful relationships and business growth

Most businesses are online but there is a big difference to being online and being a successful online business. Having a strategy is a good step to help grow a business.


There are three important objectives for any online business: Traffic, Relationships and Conversions.


Driving traffic to a site isn’t an easy task.  Popular keywords can be expensive and don’t always guarantee a ROI, writing endless realms of copy or collecting large numbers of social media followers may not generate results quickly. It’s often easier to develop better relationships with the customers you already have.


Website owners often focus on the business needs but can overlook the needs of their customers. Don’t think of your customers as an amorphous mass, break them into specific groups or segments and list why they’re coming to your site. What does the site do to fulfill their needs? Are there any gaps? Is there anything further you can be do to improve your offer.


Conversions and successful visits


A successful visit can mean many things to many businesses. It may be a sale, a download, collecting a mailing address, a sign up for social media or a new lead.


List all your successful goals and prioritise them. What is your ideal conversion rate for each of these goals? It’s not easy to set a target conversion rate, but consider what the business needs to drive leads, subscriptions, sales and ultimately to increase profits. Try to be specific about the actual conversion and the rate you want. Outline how you plan to achieve it and when by. This is where your strategy will start to get really interesting.


If one of your goals is to increase sign up, plan how you can attract more customers to sign up. This isn’t always about driving traffic into your site but working with the customers you already have. Optimising the user experience around goals is often more effective than driving traffic.


Think strategically about your site, understand your customers and what they want to achieve. Monitor and measure conversion rates for those key goals. Set strong conversion targets and develop a plan to attain those targets.













Why the smiley face in WordPress footer

I had a slight panic this morning as I noticed a smiley face had appeared in the footer on Vintage Motif.

I hadn’t spotted this before and although it was pretty small and discreet I didn’t particularly want it there.

I recently installed the Jetpack plugin which uses the GIF to monitor information on who’s visiting the site.

You don’t want to remove it as it’s got a job to do.  A quick tweak to the style sheet and included this snippet of code and all is right again.

 display: none;



Vintage Motif launches

Vintage Motif


Check out our latest project.  Adept have designed and developed a fully responsive web and mobile shop for Vintage Motif.
We’ve advised on all stages of the design and development and have delivered the branding, identity and final solution for this brand new quirky vintage shop. Vintage Motif can now list and feature products all managed by a simple content management system. Products can be easily added and all pages are optimised for search.

Are your customers getting what they want?

As a product owner or site designers you are responsible for guiding your site visitors and helping them to achieve their goals.

To do this you need to know why your customers are coming to your site. This isn’t always that obvious – I’ve been working with a finance company and they thought their customers were coming to take out loans. This wasn’t entirely true and the bulk of their customers were actually visiting the site to research about loans.

If you know what customers want then make it easy for them to find this information and achieve their tasks.

If you’re not clear who your customers are and what they want. Then there are some simple things you can do to help inform your judgment.

  1. Firstly this is obvious but ask them. Run a simple site survey. There are a lot of tools available which can help you with this.
  2. It’s worth mentioning that you’re not going to get everyone filling in the survey and it will be biased to a certain type of person. That said it’s a good starting point.
  3. Check your site analytics and work out what your customers are doing on your site. Analytics can be very time consuming, but there are some simple stats which are worth checking. What are your top landing pages, popular pages and what products are selling the most.
  4. What search terms are people using to find your site.
  5. Check your internal search to understand what customers are looking for and also the language that they use.
  6. If your business has access to a call centre, see if you can spend some time talking to the operatives and listening in on the calls. Find out what are the most popular questions or requests.
  7. Do you have direct access to customers, talk to them and find out as much as you can about what motivates them to buy your products.

By gathering the information you’ll start to get a better understanding of who your customers are and what they need from you. With this to hand you can start to understand what it is your customers need and how you can create a site that helps your customer achieve their goals.

User testing approach and the product purchasing process

I’ve been working on the testing plan for a large personal finance company.

The aim of testing is to understand customer behaviour during the purchase process and how we can help motivate customers through the journey. The purchase journey can be broken into a number of stages.

Recognition of a problem or a need
Product Evaluation
Buying decision
Expectation and use

As part of the customer research I’m using an online survey to gather customer requirements at key stages in the process. A secondary aim is to understand what devices customers are using and how they use devices differently. This should help inform the longer term strategic development of the site.

As well as the online questionnaire I’m running some face to face user testing. This consists of in depth customer interviews which inform the affinity or a behaviour model. [We can then assign features and functionally to ensure that customer needs are support by the product.]

Usability testing the current web and responsive offer will highlight what is working and what’s not working so well.

Running the two sessions will give both good insight into the strategic product development whilst delivering immediate improvements to the product.


What is user experience?

When customers are looking for information or a product how often do they say:

‘Wow! This is a really great website, I’ve found what I’m looking for so easily.’

As human beings we generally have high expectations. We expect the world to be a good place and we anticipate that things will work easily. It is only when they don’t that we get frustrated.

As a business the last thing you want to do is needlessly frustrate your customers. That’s why ensuring that your web site or web products offer customers a great experience is essential. If the user experience isn’t good you’ll end up with unhappy customers, who are less likely to purchase or give positive feedback.

Defining user experience


The definition of user experience, according to Wikipedia is:


User experience (UX) involves a person’s behaviors, attitudes, and emotions about using a particular product, system or service.


So UX tends to cover a whole range of disciplines.


  • Web design
  • Usability
  • Accessibility
  • Marketing
  • Ergonomics [easy of use]
  • HCI
  • Site – content
  • System performance


Benefits of good user experience


If a customer has a bad user experience, this will reflect negatively on the Brand.

The “2011 User Experience Buyer’s Guide” by Econsultancy identified that a good User Experience

  • Increases Sales and online conversions
  • Improves brand perception
  • Improves Google search rankings
  • Reduces customer dis-satisfaction and churn
  • Reduces the costs of development and support

What do user experience professionals set out to achieve


UX designers study and evaluate how customers are using websites or web products. UX designers solve problems and find opportunities to improve the customer experience. This could mean optimising an existing site, starting from scratch on a new website or just fixing aspects of an existing site which aren’t working well.


It’s essential to be clear what the challenge is. To do this research as much as possible about the business and their customers. There are various questions that UX needs to answer during this initial research phase.

Research questions

  • What are the business goals for the website?
  • What can you learn from the competition?
  • How are customers currently using the site?
  • What do customer feel about the website?
  • How successful are they in achieving their goals?


All the research is then pulled together to form a user experience document, which outline the approach for the site redevelopment. This normally includes the key user goals. These key user goals are very important as they become one of the key metrics to measure the success of a new product or development.


Assessing the ROI


Don’t ever wait until a site has gone live before you assess whether any changes are going to improve the user experience. During the development of a website, various techniques can be used to evaluate and measure how well the product is likely to perform. These could include user testing, A/B testing, multivariate testing.


UX is very important in developing new web products or in solving problems with a current site.  UX experience professionals study and evaluate how customers are using your site and look for opportunities to improve the customer experience. By improving the user experience of a website you are very likely to increase sales and improve customer satisfaction.