Map out your website like a physical space.
Line up the elements of your website with the elements of a physical building:
- The product or website is the building itself.
- The menu or navigation* is the hallway, building map, and signage.
- Each individual page is a room in the building.
- Each widget is a functional area in a room, like a kitchenette in an open-space office.
- Individual components on a page are pieces of furniture in a room.
Chart standard visitor journeys through your website. Modify the language on charted pages to be movement-oriented, with before, during, and after stages.
- Before stage: Just beginning the journey. Use words like start.
- During stage: On the journey. Use words like progress, at this step, and on this page. Indicate movement forwards or backwards using words like previous or next, or using left and right arrows.
- After stage: The journey is complete. Use words like finished or done. Provide suggestions for next steps where appropriate.
Create consistent directional language throughout the website to avoid confusing users.
Because virtual processes use more abstract language, users can get more easily confused. Consistent language is key to keeping the process intuitive, like always using next to move to the next step instead of interchanging next and forward.
Apply visual directional cues to guide your audience to the parts of your website that matter most for moving forward in the journey.
Use subtle or obvious cues:
- An image of a person looking at a form or button will make your audience more likely to notice it.
- An arrow pointing towards the form or button achieves the same effect, but also makes the audience aware that you’re trying to draw their attention to it.
Prioritize CTA buttons so that they’re the first thing your audience sees on a page. Use action verbs, high-contrast colors, and unique shapes to draw the viewer’s eye.
Check that each of your CTAs provides a high quality, positive reinforcement when a user performs the desired behavior.
The behaviorism technique of trigger-behavior-reinforcement can help you to train users to act the way you want them to on your site.
- Trigger: The CTA, like download our paper, that prompts the audience to act.
- User behavior: Follows that trigger if its promises and benefits line up with the user’s needs and desires.
- Reinforcer: What the user receives in return, like a piece of content. The quality of the piece of content the user receives then increases or decreases the odds that they’ll take a similar action again in the future.
Underpromising and overdelivering can be a significant motivator for your audience, increasing their chances of being delighted by the reward and making them more likely to follow through on content and facilitators from your brand in the future. Underdelivering leaves your audience disappointed and damages the prospects of building a long-term relationship with those users.