15 Year Old Approach of Websites

November 23, 2010

The approach of websites and online customer experience has changed little over the last 15 years.  It is essentially one of read-and-click, look-and-click, read-and-click, navigating through a hierarchical collection of pages containing all this read-and-click content.  Granted, there is “shinier” content on pages, but the basic approach hasn’t changed.  The problem is this approach has some fundamental flaws.

The biggest problem is this approach isn’t optimal for getting conversion results with real humans. Simply put, huge amounts of information all somewhat randomly available isn’t optimal for moving potential customers to make decisions, take actions, and click the results you want as a business.

Limiting choices helps increase conversion optimization

The overwhelming number of choices created by this approach to websites is part of the problem. We tend to not make decisions as humans when we have too many choices. But the other big problem is the almost exclusive appeal to reason that’s embedded in this approach.  In other words, the approach assumes if you have rationally compelling information and value in the content on web pages, and logically organize the pages so people can find the content on them, then you’ll maximize results.  But, based on recent research on human decision and customer behavior, it’s becoming increasingly clear it isn’t an appeal to reason that moves us to action; it’s engaging at the level of intuition and emotion that is most powerful.  That’s in short supply online and candidly at odds with the approach of websites today.

We are beginning to see a number of emerging innovations that seek to change the dynamic of interaction on websites.  One is represented by Landing Pages and Microsites.  In the case of a Landing Page, the page is designed for one main purpose, to get a person who lands on the page to take a specific action.  As a result, the entire design of a landing page is optimized to this end.  Or similarly, Microsites are designed to step a person through a stream of clicks, through a carefully planned online experience.  Again, the organizing principle is the experience for a particular type of person and offer.

Call to Action Meme

There are a number of other innovations seeking to transform the dynamic of interaction.  At CodeBaby, we are seeking to transform the dynamic of engagement to something that is aligned around a common human interaction model: a Conversation.  We use a digital character to engage site visitors with a more human dynamic. And the conversation embodies three essential qualities: it’s personally engaging based on what we know or can predict about the site visitor; it applies basic principles of emotional intelligence … factoring both blocking emotions as well as positive emotions; and it’s highly interactive in a way that moves real people to action.

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