Monthly Archive for February, 2010

You Can’t Herd Cats On Your Website!

Last week I was talking with a company which helps owners of intellectual property to register trademarks and copyrights.

The client had requested a “Pick My Brain” session to talk about his plans for the reworked version of the site (which is still in process at time of writing this).

We discussed at length how visitors coming to his site will make decisions, how they might be persuaded to interact with him, and hopefully to make a purchase. Visitors will have different levels of knowledge about the law in this area, about the registration process and its benefits, and they probably also have different levels of readiness to buy. Some might be very price conscious and looking for the best deal (there are other companies who offer similar services), while some might be more concerned about the credibility and trustworthiness of the company that they choose to do business with.

My client started our conversation hoping that he could guide visitors down a fairly set path – that if they read Page A, they’ll naturally progress to Page B, etc. Along the way, he could provide answers to questions, and address their concerns in a logical sequence.

I had to tell him that in my experience, it just doesn’t work that way! People can come into your site at lots of different entry points, and they have all sorts of ways of thinking and emotional response. The best you can do is to ensure that they can access all content that will help them and drive them towards your goals on every page of your site.

Creating user personas can help you understand how various types of visitors might interact with your site, but trying to get every visitor to follow a set path is like herding cats – and I have a calico, so I know never to try that!