Site customisation – do site visitors actually use it?
January 08, 2014 at 2:21 PM
by Mikul PatelDigital Marketing Consultant at Matraxis
Personalisation is nothing new for people on the internet. When you sign up to a mailing list, you can specify the type of content you want to receive e.g. special offers on Men's clothing. But when applied to UX design on websites, do people notice the ability to control the content they see? Or is it being ignored?
What is site customisation?
When it comes to designing a website, one of the first challenges for a UX designer is to make navigation easy for all users – especially important for end-users with accessibility requirements. Here are just a few customisation options that you can find on websites:
Increase font size
The American Foundation for the Blind site has a change Text Size option. In the context of this site, it serves as a great option for visually impaired users. Alternatively, other sites have the same feature by displaying A's – a more universally accepted method.
This works great from both an accessibility and design perspective. Certain users may have difficultly viewing text with certain colours. Sites could also make use of this feature as part of their branding strategy e.g. allowing the visitor to change the background colour of a site for aesthetic reasons.
Information sites can be overwhelming, especially where there is a lot of content spread across various categories. The MDU use a great customised feature that allows a site visitor to view content is relevant to them. When saved through browser cookie, this customised option is automatically recognised when a visitor revisits the site.
Measuring if people are using site customisation
In short, the best way is through the use of analytics and tagging. By tagging the page element, you can measure a variety of interaction options e.g. how many people are clicking this particular colour scheme? Are people turning off customised options? With Google Analtyics you can use event tagging to send a server call each time and action occurs. Similarily in Webtrends Analytics, you can use event tagging at a higher level to target and segment specific site users - useful when it comes to reporting usage!
Once you have reported the use of site customisation, putt your analyst hat on and start to think how to apply that data to improve the usability of a site. If one site customisation option is popular than others, why is this happening and does it give you an insight into the behaviour of your site visitors?
A shift to contextualisation
As discussed during the recent Webtrends Engage event in London, one of the standout observations was the movement from a 'personalisation to a contextualisation-era'. In short, this is where brands should start to consider what the customer wants to see, rather than what business wants the customer to see.
Site customisation is not definitive and it is the role of a UX designer, working with marketing teams, to identify opportunities to improve the user journey; based on analytics data.
Matraxis is the leading independent UK company specialising in digital marketing analytics and associated consultancy services. Matraxis have a broad range of expertise in delivering web analytics as the foundation for acquiring visitors, maximising the number of conversions and securing visitor retention.
To learn how to measure and develop site customisation elements for your site, get in contact with us today.
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