Insights

Q&A with SessionCam: Improving the Customer Experience

Blog / 04 Oct 2018

Tags: Customer Experience / User Experience / UX Research

We work to understand what impacts users most when they are struggling to use your site and how these struggles contribute to them not completing your goals whether that be purchasing, signing up or registering etc. Understanding what has the greatest impact will help shape your optimisation plan and give the best rewards in the shortest time. 

Tell us a bit about how your company improves the customer experience

SessionCam: We work to understand what impacts users most when they are struggling to use your site and how these struggles contribute to them not completing your goals whether that be purchasing, signing up or registering etc. Understanding what has the greatest impact will help shape your optimisation plan and give the best rewards in the shortest time. 

RedEye Optimisation: The overarching aim of UX research is to give clients an understanding of how people use and experience their site. We know that marketers and online teams are swimming in data that tells them what is happening, but they still don't understand why - that's where we come in. Understanding why users abandon a journey means we can make recommendations that solve both emotional and practical problems.

What are the top three pain points that users come across again and again?

SessionCam: Poor navigation, poorly worded error messaging and confusing/overwhelming content.

RedEye Optimisation: Information architecture is definitely one - too many sites still structure themselves around their understanding of their product catalogue without taking the users' understanding into account. Not providing enough, or the right, information is a common trigger for users to try their luck on another site. It's a bit of a cheat but navigation and orientation - browser back buttons that don't go where the user expects and mobile overlays that are hard to close. Anything that makes a user frustrated or feel stupid is bad.   

How often should brands be watching customers using their site?

SessionCam: There could be a focus on a particular area, optimisation test or section of the site and session replay should be used to investigate and confirm hypothesis around how visitors interact or engage with that area or test. Some clients will use session replay every day, continually improving the experience and therefore performance against their goals, other clients will watch sessions based on a change in performance, client feedback or customer services highlighting an issue to try and rectify that problem.

RedEye Optimisation: Can you watch users too often? I'm not sure you can, but regularity is probably the key point. Having a pool of session recordings ready to watch when you need to explore an issue further is really helpful. But as expectations and technology are constantly changing most sites would benefit from interacting with key user types a couple of times a year, at least, just to keep up.

When watching customers on a site what are the signs that the user might be struggling? 

SessionCam: It is more a case of looking at this the other way because too often I hear the line 'this visitor isn't struggling they are just engaging with the site'. Sometimes we believe visitors must hit a point where they cannot continue to be classed as struggling but actually struggle can be the collection of incremental small frustrations that come together as a larger issue. Understand what the visitor is trying or attempting to do, and be open-minded as to why they could not do that. Sometimes it will be obvious that the layout of the page has caused a struggle, sometimes it may be harder to understand that the visitor didn't understand the terminology or internally recognised jargon we were using.

RedEye Optimisation: The great thing about moderated user testing, in the lab, is that you can see negative body language before it affects on-site behaviour or is verbalised. Users sit back in their chair, sigh quietly or simply put down the phone. Sometimes, as a moderator, you can feel the discontent and get to dig deep with a well placed open question. The most obvious on screen sign that a user is struggling is repeating an action or journey. Participants often assume that they made the mistake and go back to see where they went wrong. Repeating the same action 2 or 3 times is a sure sign that the journey doesn't match the user’s mental model.

What are the most common reasons for a user to abandon a form?

SessionCam: Mobile experience without a doubt - when a site is not fully responsive it is massively frustrating for users. Other reasons are formatted fields not allowing visitors to enter valid details (+44 instead of 0 for mobile number), poorly labelled field names, lack of help icons and overall form length perception.

RedEye Optimisation: Users still expect forms to be harder to complete on mobile, even though this isn't the case. There are a few tools on mobile that can make entering data easier on mobile (specific keyboards, credit card scanning) so not using those can lead to form abandonment. Making users add information repeatedly increases the chance of abandonment - they expect sites to be smart enough to do this for them. Forms that require information that isn't easy or quick to access need to let users know what's needed as early as possible to avoid steep drop off at that point.

What insights can you get from heatmaps of a site?

SessionCam: Heatmaps offer only a very average view of aggregated user behaviour. They should, however, allow you to see a difference in that behaviour between two segments of visitors. A heat map of a product page can be compared side by side with two different segments applied - converting vs. non-converting, which should help you realise the important content on the page which had the greatest impact on that visitor converting.

RedEye Optimisation: Heatmaps, and other outputs from eye-tracking, often show where user attention isn't for example buttons or key information that is missed. The amount of attention that users pay to copy can also be used to measure how much they've understood of what they've read. It might look like users understand what to do next from the attention they pay to the copy but if they don't make it onto the next step of the journey was it really clear?

Finally, what is your top tip for improving the user experience?

SessionCam: Never stop trying to improve your user experience. You will never be at a point when the experience is at its optimum and cannot be improved. Take on-board every idea and tip and use testing to prove they don't work, not just gut instinct.

RedEye Optimisation: Watch and talk to your users. They'll always find something you just can't see because you have too much knowledge and are too close to your site. And they're the ones who need to be able to use it!