4 Steps To Design Changes That Never Fail
Website design is a funny thing. Often we get in our heads an image of exactly what we think our audience wants or at bare minimum, what will resonate with them and drive conversions (sales, leads, moola). We’re sure that the web site design (or redesign) that we have – will rock.
I should add that I absolutely know better than to think this way. But sometimes knowing and doing can be two different things so… being human, I thought the same thing; when I completed a design change on an important page to improve conversions on one of our websites. Now I’ll preface that even though I was sure, I still never do anything without measuring (google analytics training). So if you don’t read below for the outcome, be sure you’re measuring everything you do.
I changed the substance of the content on the page, which had to be updated; but, I also changed the layout of the page. I was really pumped about this, I mean I was really proud of what we had created. In my eyes it looked awesome.
Were we right? The answer is in the analytics…
Well today was D-Day if you will. In other words it was do or die day with analytics. It was time to see exactly how well, how absolutely awesome our results were. To do this, we had to have a goal and be measuring it to truly understand whether we were right or not, doing awesome or failing. So if you’re not measuring (shame on you), there is no D-Day. You’ll just go on assuming you were right (God help you).
So at first glance everything looked amazing. Average time on page was good. Bounce rate was acceptable. And the conversion of the page, well that was oddly low? Here’s a snapshot of the page performance.
Sorry it’s small, click to enlarge
Have you ever been fooled by first glance?
So I had to dig a little further. I looked back through annotations (annotations should be used with any changes or updates to your website), and found the date that I made the original changes. I then applied that date range to google analytics, and applied a comparison to the comparable date range.
…and lo and behold, I was horrified.
Click to enlarge
Although I was sure that the changes I had made would make a significant improvement, as you can see in the above image, the statistics clearly proved that I was absolutely, 100%, undoubtedly, wrong!
In reviewing the details of the analytics I could quickly and easily see that the average time on page had decreased by 72%, my bounce rate had increased by 336% and the percent that exited on this page had increased 80%. In a word, this page “sucked”.
How you need to look at failure in design
But how could I be so wrong? And the answer is, who cares. Really it doesn’t matter that I was wrong, what really matters is that I caught the mistakes fast. I’m now able to make further adjustments, and watch and watch those changes.
Marketing and design are not about being right 100% of the time. In fact in my experience if you’re not making mistakes all the time, you’re not growing. By taking action, making mistakes, measuring, and improving on our results, we’re able to grow our businesses.
So my takeaways on this adventure…the 4 components to design success…
- Have a goal
- Measure everything
- Be sure to annotate everything you do
- Don’t be afraid to be wrong… be afraid not to try
So I’ve made the changes, and testing will begin again immediately. How about you, have you made some atrocious design changes? Have you been able to measure this in analytics? Leave me some comments below, I’d be interested in your story.