The User Experience: User Feedback

User-Experience-FeedbackThe most important feedback you can receive about your website is from your users. After all, their opinions are the only ones that really matter!

Why Is User Feedback Important?

When a creative project, such as a website, logo or marketing campaign, is developed, refined and ultimately released, the individuals involved in the project can sometimes take a “myopic” view of their work. After all, professionals are contracted to lend their experience and expertise to a campaign or project, and the owner, manager, or representative of the company or organization believes that their ideas, feedback, and final approval of the project are essential to its ultimate success.

Unfortunately, as the mixed to poor results of other marketing campaigns, websites and other projects have shown, sometimes even the most expensive and distinguished efforts fail – because customers, clients and users ultimately reject them. “New Coke” was a famous marketing disaster, while some famous websites have incurred user wrath and dwindling hit counts due to unpopular site redesigns.

Understanding Feedback

When it comes to your website, it is vitally important to collect, process and understand user feedback. If visitor and users of your website have practical or personal difficulties navigating your site in a manner that is comfortable, pleasing and satisfying, they will expect changes to be made – if they ever return. Discovering and fixing problems and barriers to successful user engagement in your website design before a number of your customers have a less than desirable experience requires the solicitation of user feedback. What are some of the best ways to collect, process and understand user feedback?

Collect Feedback Early

To begin, it is vital to begin collecting feedback from visitors and customers as early as possible, either immediately before or after the launch of a new website or immediately after major changes are made to an existing one. In fact, it is generally a good idea to put feedback mechanisms in place during the website design process, rather than scrambling to choose the best solution after the new or redesigned site has launched. If there are major problems with your new or redesigned site, it is vitally important to discover them before they are exposed to a significant number of your customers.

A Variety Of Different Ways

There are advanced options for soliciting user feedback, including pop-up surveys that can be added to a website or professional testers that will review your website and provide quality feedback in exchange for a consulting fee. There are even services that will record your visitors in action, providing advanced feedback of site navigation. However, many small business owners do not have the budget or website traffic to justify the expensive of these advanced solutions. Does this mean they cannot collect user feedback? Of course not!

Valuable user feedback can be collected in more basic ways, including asking family and friends to test a new or redesigned website and provide feedback. Some business owners provide a small incentive, such as a coupon or an entry to a contest, to solicit user feedback from customers through the use of surveys.

Be Receptive To Criticism

It is important to note that both the business or organization and the website designer must be open and receptive to feedback. Many times feedback is solicited – even at great expense – only to be disregarded and ignored. If a business owner or manager chooses to disregard customer and user feedback, they are free to do so; some professionals believe they are successful in their chosen fields because of a unique vision and steadfast adherence to their beliefs and principles. However, it is important to be cognizant of this and not to solicit user feedback in the first place – especially if you are a small business or organization. If a customer or visitor is aware that feedback was provided and subsequently disregarded or ignored, they can potentially become even more disgruntled than if their feedback was never solicited in the first place.

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