Two Quick Ways to Provide a Better Website Experience
Leverage Search and Video to Enhance User Experience
Let’s face it: Instant gratification has become the hallmark of our society. When people search the Internet, they want it now, and if they find what they want, they’ll buy it right then and there.
That’s why adding more effective search tools and short, informative videos to your website can lead to a better user experience, generating more revenue through your website.
With studies showing that most Internet users immediately go to the search bar when they visit a website, it’s imperative that your search interface be easy to use, interactive and aesthetically pleasing. Forrester Research found that Internet searchers are 2-3 times more likely to take a desired action, such as purchasing a product or signing up for a newsletter.
Like an efficient search function, videos also make it easier for visitors to your website to consume more content quickly. Given that most people browsing the internet have short attention spans, visual content will capture their interest better than static text.
Consider this: YouTube now has 2 billion logged-in monthly users, making it the most popular online platform in the world. According to Pew Research, 72% of American adults tune in to YouTube — that’s more than Facebook, accessed by 69% of U.S. adults, and Instagram, the third-largest online platform with 37% of U.S. adult Internet users.
Enable Both Federated and Faceted Searches
The most effective website search facilitates both “federated” and “faceted” searches to make the user experience as seamless and productive as possible. Federated searches yield results from a variety of content formats including news, blogs, videos and webinars, as well as from both internal and external sources such as online communities and published journals. By contrast, faceted searches enable users to apply filters, or “facets,” to quickly narrow their results based on certain predefined categories.
For example, a federated search of the word “budget” on the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits website produces results from MCN’s site, as well as from the Minnesota Budget Project’s website. MCN’s faceted search function enables users to further narrow these results by specific content type — web pages, events, documents, etc. — as well as by certain predefined categories, such as “Finance and Legal” or “Advocacy and Public Policy,” or by geographic region.
Design of Search Results
While most search engines use complex algorithms to comb through content to find the most relevant information, search results should always be presented in a format that a reader can scan easily. By understanding where users’ eyes are drawn naturally, you can optimize the placement of important information on the page, such as titles, illustrations and provide a snippet, or a few lines of text, to serve as a preview of the larger content.
Use Search to Spotlight Videos
Video is becoming increasingly integral to content marketing, and an enhanced search function will make it easier to reach your audience. Videos should be clearly labeled, properly categorized and their descriptions should include proper keywords. A good content management system such as Sitefinity can be programmed to include videos posted to YouTube so you can easily import them into your website.
Make a Long Story Short
Videos should tell a story, but make sure that it is as brief as possible. People are more likely to watch and share videos that are less than a minute long. The story should also incorporate the “3 Tells” storytelling technique: In the introduction, tell people what you plan to tell them; In the body, tell your story; and in the conclusion, summarize what you have told them.
The best way to connect with your audience on video is at an emotional level. Answer a question that has been preying on their minds or provide advice on how to connect with others.
Finally, your video should always be accompanied by other, related content on your website. Video should support other material rather than substitute for it.
Improved User Experience Drives Results
Giving your members what they want easily, quickly and in a more visually stimulating manner will keep them engaged on your website longer, leading to increased memberships, event and product sales and other revenue-generating products and services.
But it takes a good user interface and taking what users want into account to make that a positive user experience possible.
An example of federated search results.
An example of faceted search results.
President Vanguard Technology