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1.2 Getting to Know Your Users

Before you can persuade users to take action, you need to understand how they think. To do that, you need to understand who they are. In this first lesson, I will introduce you to some basic techniques for better understanding users-techniques such as empathy maps, ethnographic studies, and customer journey mapping.

By implementing the techniques covered in this lesson, you will understand your users and be in a better place to talk to them persuasively.

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1.2 Getting to Know Your Users

Hello and welcome to this presentation on Persuasive Web Design. My name is Paul Bargain and over the next, I don't know, 30 minutes or so. I'll be sharing with you some of the key techniques involved in turning your site into a conversion machine. In other words, I will be showing you how to persuade your visitors to take action on your website, but let's be clear up front. This presentation is not to teach you hot to manipulate or trick users into action. Although that's certainly possible, it ultimately come back and bite you. You will quickly find that your users will be bad mouthing you online and let's face it, none of us want that. Ultimately, these kinds of dark patterns as these are often called, just makes users angry and lead to buyer's remorse. And that in turn, leads to a lot of reputation management and customer service over head. Work that can seriously damage your profit margins. Instead, what this presentation is about is nudging the user in the right direction. We will be looking at ways to encouraging users to make a decision about taking action and to decide to act with you rather than your competitors. Before we can encourage you to just to take action we need to better understand them and unless we understand who they are, what they want and what their experiences like. We can't know the best way to encourage them interaction. Fortunately, there are a number of techniques that we can use to better understand our users and their needs. Any kind of user research has to begin by well, basically, spending time talking to users. We need to talk to them through things like surveys or social media, but where possible, we want to meet with them face to face. I would even encourage you to go and actually spend time visiting people in their homes, see how they live. This is often called ethnographic studies, which sounds very posh, but is actually very simple. It just means visiting people in their homes. I think it's brilliant for getting inside the user's head and understanding how they tick. Also, if your company has a call center, a line that people can call up if they need help, then I really recommend spending some time manning it. Helping users overcome their problems and dealing with their complaints will be a huge eye opening experience I can guarantee it. It's tempting to think that you can shortcut this process that you already know about your users, but do you really? Sure, speaking to stakeholders who work with user is great. But to be honest, it's not enough by itself. You need to spend time with users yourself in order to discover what they really like. Once you've done this, there are all kinds of impression that you'll have going round in your head, but you need to kind of rationalize all of this information, all of these impressions, so that you have a clear picture of who your users are. Now, there are a couple of tools that can help with this process. First is something called empathy maps. Empathy maps are a bit like personas, but they put an extra emphasis on what it is the user is trying to achieve in their interaction with you and your organization. An empathy map looks at the user's overall goals, the pain points that they need help with and the specific tasks and questions they have. It also includes some information on how they feel about the process and what factors influence them in their decision-making. By looking at an empathy map, you can quickly see the factors that motivate a user's action and that could help you tailor your design accordingly. The only limitation with empathy maps is that it's a static snapshot. It doesn't take into account the changing experience of users over time and this is a problem, because how we persuade users will be dependent on the sales process, the stages that they have to go through. Fortunately, we do have something called Customer Journey Mapping to help pass with this. A customer journey map is essentially a time line of a fictional customers experience. The timeline is made up of a series of steps in the users journey. Now, what these steps will be very much depending on what your're offering. But typically, it might begin with a realization of a need followed by some kind of research stage, then actually going and taking action and then a kind of post action stage. So for example, if it was an e-commerce site we were talking about, there'd be a discovery phase, a research phase, a purchasing phase, a delivery phase and an after sales phase. With each of these stages, you can look at the same kind of information found on the empathy map. What information you want to include is very much up to you. But typically, it will include those questions that the user might have at each stage of the journey. How they're feeling at each stage? What actions they want to take? And who it is that their engaging with? That last one's particularly important, because your looking at the various touch points in the the experience the user has. Both empathy maps and customer journeys are invaluable tools, if they're actually used. The problem is that many organizations do the research, they produce the maps and then they put them in a drawer and forget about them. That doesn't really help shape your decision-making, as you create a website and it doesn't aid you in the design process any. That's why I recommend turning these maps into attractive infographics that you then get framed and you put on the wall. And that means that as you're working on the design and as the website is evolving, everyone has the customer right in front of them. It's a great way to ensure that you focus on their needs and remember them when you're designing interfaces or writing copy. So now, we have a better idea of who our customers are and what they want. The question now becomes, how can we start persuading them to take action? And to answer that question, we need to look at human psychology. You see if you want to become an expert in persuasive design, you need to understand how people think. You need to understand Human Psychology and you need to understand it at a much deeper level than I'm able to cover in a 30-minute presentation. Fortunately, there are some great books out there to get you started. I highly recommend two books by Dr. Susan Weinschenk. The first is 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People and the second is How to Get People to Do Stuff. Both will give you a great introduction into human psychology and how influenced is our decision-making, but there are a couple of areas I would like to suggest we look into as part of this presentation. One of the most obvious is Maslow's hierarchy of needs. This outlines what it is that we need as human beings from the most basic physiological needs, such as food and shelter all the way out to things like self-actualization and achieving our personal potential. This hierarchy is interesting, because it reveals some of the things that motivates us as people. Motivation that marketers have been using for years to encourage to act and that we should be using as web designers too. For example, Maslow's hierarchy of needs shows us that one of our most basic needs is safety. We can use this to inform our designs. For example if we run an e-commerce site, this knowledge would show us the need to emphasize security of credit card details. In fact, I once worked on a website where I saw a 6% increase in conversion by simply replacing the Verisign logo that nobody ever understood, anyway, with a description about how secure our site was. Another example of how the hierarchy of needs can influence design is around a steam. People like to feel good about themselves. That is part of the reason why so many apps and websites these days reward usage with badges and other kind of titles. This works particularly well on community sites. The more you use the site and contribute to it, the higher your rating and the more your esteem goes up. But there are many other tools available to us that you can find in Maslow's hierarchy of needs and exploring those tools is the subject for our next video in this presentation on Persuasive Web Design. But until then, thanks for watching.

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