Improving The User Journey: How to help your users find what they are looking for

Keep your users on your site—and keep them happy

|Laura Heine

Have you ever wondered why your conversion rates aren't higher? Perhaps your visitors aren’t signing up for the newsletter, or maybe they’re leaving halfway through the purchase process. The culprit might be the journey your user is taking. 

The user journey is a substantial part of the user experience (UX). If users are unable to complete a task in your app or on your website, their user experience plummets — so does their opinion of your brand. When you notice high bounce rates or low conversion rates, it’s time to act.

Collect data about your users’ activity on your app or website, and try to identify gaps and roadblocks along their path. It’s crucial to have a deep understanding of your users and their goals—engage an expert to help. 

At b13, we offer an in-depth target audience analysis that unveils your users’ views and desires.

Read about target audience analysis

How does the user journey affect user experience?

A user journey is a path your visitors take on your site or app to complete a task, go through an education process, or discover products that may lead to a purchase. The user journey directly impacts the UX. If the user journey works, it’s invisible. Visitors can find your offerings and accomplish their goals. They’ll associate the smooth or delightful experience with your brand. Excellent user experience is the key to aligning your users’ goals with your business goals.

A broken user journey affects this alignment. And even user journeys that work well so far can break if the site changes. Be poised to detect such breaks early.

Diagnosing poor user journeys

Watch out for these symptoms of a user journey that could need some work.

  • Direct feedback: Users report issues that can be related back to a broken user journey.For example, visitors complain that they could not sign up for the newsletter.
  • Analytics: After a change to your app, you notice that one or more types of interaction begin to decrease. For example, after redesigning a form, the bounce rate on that page rises.

Direct feedback is the easy part. Using statistics requires some more work.

To solve problems in the user journey, you need the right data

Statistical website and app analytics can give you insight into user behavior, but sometimes you need an expert to tell the signal from the noise. To diagnose a broken user journey, you need to understand your users. Why do they come to your site? What are they hoping to find? What makes them stay or leave? 

To answer these questions, start with basic metrics, such as

  • Bounce rates
  • How far users scroll
  • Exit pages
  • Page navigation
  • Time on page

The UX Designers at b13 can set up your analytics and start collecting valuable data. We also can help in cases where actual data is hard to acquire. Talk to us

With that data at hand, you can get an idea of basic user flows, identify common exit points, and work towards building an understanding of your user journeys.

What you can improve, and how

Your data analysis gives you the necessary insights to identify the problem areas. In the next step, you turn these insights into action. Here are some ways to improve a user journey.

Identify the goal of the journey

Start with the end in mind. Every user journey should have a clear purpose. You know what your users are looking for, but what action do you want them to carry out? If the journey contains smaller interactions, do they lead the user towards the final goal? Be very clear about what your users want to achieve, so that you can help them get there. (A solid information architecture ensures you can give your visitors the right information at the right time.)

Create user personas for your visitors

Be clear about the different kinds of people you want to serve. Creating user personas is an effective way to model your users’ behaviors. A persona represents a typical user of a target audience. Create this persona with as much detail as you can. Then try walking in the persona’s shoes for a while. What does that persona look for on your site? How would they navigate through the site?

Build a user journey map

With journey goals and user personas at hand, you can go one step further and create user journey maps. A journey map is a visual representation of a user journey. It contains the steps a user takes on your site to reach a particular goal. 

When you add a step, think about the emotions and thoughts that a user may have at that point. Is that step complicated, or confusing? Or is it clear and easy to understand? Do not overthink that part.

When the map is finished, look at the steps. Are there too many of them? Does the user have to make too many decisions? What emotions does the user go through while following that journey? 

Wherever a step in the journey maps to a particular page, you can add analytics data to get more insights. Are there particular pages on which many users stop the journey and leave?

You will perhaps find a couple of journeys that are too long and a bit bumpy. Use that information to sketch out a new journey with fewer and clearer steps.

Reduce your users’ cognitive load as much as possible.

Turn popular pages into landing pages

A valuable insight from analytics data is a list of popular entry points. Visitors often enter your side not through the home page but rather through a particular page they found elsewhere. This could be a blog article found through a search engine or a how-to document that another popular site links to. 

If you can identify one or more such “unofficial” but popular entry points where most of your traffic arrives, ensure that those pages have all features of a good landing page, and include a call to action.

Ensure that every landing page has a single focus

The best landing pages have a single, clear focus. Minimize the risk of users skipping around and forgetting what they came to your site or app for in the first place. A page with a clear path to action serves both your and your users’ goals.

Test, test, test

Every new improvement needs to be verified. Do the stats go up? Are you getting good feedback from happy customers? A/B tests will help you be sure about what changes lead to the best results. 

Every improvement of the journey starts with data

Before you jump right into improving various aspects of your user journey, remember that problems in the user journey do not stand out on your site like a broken UI element.  To identify and solve user journey problems, your first step should always be to collect and analyze data from your site visitors, through Analytics or more active testing techniques like moderated user testing or observational sessions.

Only if you know your target audience well, can you take the right steps to streamline their user journey and improve their user experience.

We can help you get analytics set up and collect the metrics you need.

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