From traditional web projects to modern web products, what has changed? – Part 2

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December 10, 2019

In the first part of this series, we listed various factors involved in the transition of web projects into web products and discussed Utility and Usability in detail. In this part, are dive into the remaining factors – Desirability, Accessibility, Findability and Analytics.

Desirability

Desirability is part of the user experience and it’s different from usability in that a desirable website also provides enjoyable experiences while being useful (usability and utility). The more desirable a website is, the more likely it is that the customer will make repeat visits and will perform positive actions. Desirability is what provides the differentiating element between the market leaders and other similar competing websites —it is what makes a user keep coming back to the website.

Some of the factors that contribute to making a web-product desirable include using a good balance of visuals and text, using a clear value-proposition, using form elements to guide users towards taking meaningful actions on the website, using friendly, empowering language, creating content that’s credible and resourceful, using gamification to entice the users to make repeat visits and spend longer hours.

Accessibility

Accessibility is the ease with which people with disabilities can use the web product. It’s important to keep the Web an inclusive place where everyone can access and contribute. According to World Bank, disability affects nearly 15% of the population, worldwide. Indeed, several countries have clearly defined laws for website accessibility and flouting those could mean legal trouble. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0  is considered the international standard for building accessible websites.

As a bonus, the practices that help make a website accessible have some overlap with the practices that help optimise it for SEO. These include making use of alt-tags for images, closed-captions for videos, allowing a keyboard-only navigation, choosing colours carefully, making forms easy to use, allowing resizing text, disabling automatic play, allowing screen-reader compatibility, etc.

Findability

Findability is the ease with which a website can be discovered. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) helps with improving the findability of a website by improving its ranking, which results in increased web traffic and also increases the perceived authority of the website.

Making a site search engine optimised also helps with the usability of the site and provides positive experiences for the users such as making it faster to load, and ensuring relevant content is used.

Key elements that influence search ranking are:

  1. Content : Using a variety of content (articles, blogs, infographics, podcasts, white papers) that’s relevant, engaging, educational, and shareable
  2. Keyword optimisation : Using a healthy combination of high-value and semantic keywords (words that are relevant to the topic), using local terms, using repetition without overdoing it, using both simple and descriptive terms (e.g., phone vs. Android phone with 24MP camera)
  3. Technical optimisation : This helps ensure the infrastructure of the website enables search engines access, crawl, interpret, and index the website without any issues. Examples include using HTTPS, optimising Robots.txt, fixing broken links, using canonical URLs, using fast pages (AMP), optimising XML sitemap
  4. Local SEO : Using local content/keywords (if relevant) ensures that the website is found by locals in the area looking for the products/services that the website offers
  5. Off-page SEO : This is about creating brand awareness by building high-quality backlinks to the website from other sources including social media

Analytics

For any web product, it’s important to understand the users’ motivation for using the product and the ways in which they are finding or interacting with the site. Analytics helps understand patterns — where users are coming from, their location, browsing styles (mobile/desktop), who they are, their demographics and interests, which features or content the users interact with the most or at what point the users drop off.

Insights drawn from analytics can be used to optimise features, remove friction-causing elements, to understand where to spend marketing money, and track conversions.

Some of the things to consider while starting with analytics:

  1. Define the goals of the web product and what success means — whether it’s increased revenue or repeated site visits. Only by defining the goals do we understand the metrics that need to be gathered.
  2. Choose a metrics gathering mechanism keeping in view the anticipated growth of the website to ensure that it is scalable
  3. Determine the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and metrics to track that suit the business purpose
  4. Integrate cross-channel marketing campaigns with analytics to understand how each of the individual channels are contributing to the others and to understand user behaviour across channels
  5. Track the metrics at a regular cadence and re-evaluate the goals and strategy based on the insights derived from the metrics. Analytics needs to be a continuous activity for it to contribute to the web product’s success.

This is Part 2 of the two part series. You can read the first part here