This is often an overlooked aspect of CRO – and one which should receive a greater amount of industry review and test exploration – as it represents a potential gold mine for conversion and many of the culprits effecting your site’s “discoverability” (right now) are relatively easy to identify and put into test (when you know about them).
What is “Discoverability”?
“Discoverability” is the ability to discover something easily/as a “happy accident”.
Why is it important to me?
Some of the visitors coming to your website will know what they are looking for….. and some won’t. Helping them to discover what’s right for them is key to conversion.
Both visitor types come to your home page – and will be affected by problems with discoverability.
Let’s say for example you operate a website selling holidays in the UK. The first visitor type will input their details into your internal search or decision making engine – they know they want to go on holiday in Sussex in April and want to go away for a romantic break for two – and so will engage with the easiest path to find what they want.
The second visitor type will browse around the site – they may have an idea of what they’d like, but they are open to suggestion and will be looking for inspiration.
There are inherent “discoverability” problems in your site which prohibit conversion and can hurt the user experience (for both types of visitor):
Narrow Results on Decision Making Engines:
This is so obvious but such an easy mistake to make; limited choice. If you don’t show any results (once a visitor has used your decision making engine to try to find their holiday) then obviously you aren’t going to convert them. In similar sense if you only show a limited range of choice i.e. one option, then the conversion literally hangs on whether or not that one option is right for them i.e. yes or no.
The problem with narrow results is the fact that you don’t know what is a “deal breaker” for your visitor i.e. is it the date i.e. “April” or the location “Sussex”?
Opening up the search, cross-sell or forcing a broader search are valid tests in this situation – as is “breaking” the search to identify how many times the visitor will be met with “No results” as an initial quick win.
Opportunity to See:
Some of the messages on your home page will be static i.e. they will always be shown no matter what a visitor does. Others are uncovered if the visitor engages with the menu, clicks on certain button or drop down/waits for a slider to show the message.
The visitor’s opportunity to see a message (and its “discoverability”) will be significantly impacted by whether the message is static or not. Static messages naturally have greater impact due to the fact the message is not discovered in response to an action. An action the visitor may or may not complete.
Let’s focus on visitor type two – they are looking for inspiration for their holiday and will be more likely to browse around the home page.
Static buttons (which display all the holiday options available) will give this visitor a range of choice at a glance.
The same messages on a slider will decrease the likelihood of the visitor seeing all the different holiday options – as the visitor may move below the fold (before the slider shows the panel) and miss a great holiday option just right for them.
Nine times out of ten I review a holiday site and they have beautiful images of hotels, they use throughout the home page to showcase their product offering (which is great, no problem) – but nine times out of ten these incidental shots are not clickable and they don’t feature any reference to the name of the hotel!
Featuring the name of the hotel at least is an absolute must as the visitor has the information to find the hotel they are interested in.
A new product or service requires internal promotion to aid discoverability too. In this example “glamping in the UK” (glamourous camping) could be new product in your holiday website. Let’s say this type of holiday is unfamiliar to your visitors so they won’t search for it – on this basis internal promotion is important i.e. promotional panels – main menu highlight – product feature/editorial pieces to effectively launch the products through the site – will help to educate the visitors and encourage engagement.
We have only outlined a few areas of your home page which may impact discoverability (there are more). But you can easily assess the impact of discoverability on your site. To learn more and to find out how to approach test and work to resolve discoverability issues, talk to us ……
- 5 CRO Mistakes - July 11, 2017
- “X marks the Spot” Discoverability in CRO - March 7, 2017
- Hot Tips To Using and Interpreting Website Heatmaps - January 28, 2016