December 2007

How a Web Site Usability Audit Can Enhance Your Conversion Goals

by Bethany Little, Director of Interactive Services, Convio

Is your Web site producing the fundraising or advocacy results you intended? A Web site that educates visitors around a mission and ultimately converts visitors into donors and loyal long-term advocates doesn't just happen. User behavior shows today that 50% of Web visitors go to a home page and then immediately leave to another Web site. Also, when visitors spend time on a Web site, the most popular action is clicking the "back" button on the browser, not viewing an actual content item on a home page. How does your Web site stack up? With the increased competition for market share online, nonprofits need to communicate with their specific constituencies in ways that truly engage and compel them to take action.

The importance of user experience

Optimizing the user experience of your Web site is key to supporting conversion goals. Whether your goals are to drive greater constituent engagement, promote a sense of online community, and/or build relationships that strengthen conversion, you need to marry your constituents' needs with your organization's goals by creating clear interactive and informational pathways that move constituents strategically through your Web site and emails.

The User Experience Audit — an expert review

A User Experience Audit (otherwise known as a Web Site Expert Review) focuses on data and user research to inform site layout and content presentation. By analyzing the user experience of an organization's Web site, you'll better understand the reasons visitors would get confused or abandon your site altogether. A user experience audit prescribes the right combination of techniques for your organization's specific needs then applies these techniques to make specific recommendations that meet your organizational goals. With this information, you can make tangible changes to your Web site that result in stickier sites with higher conversion rates.

User research techniques employed during the User Experience Audit include:

  • Stakeholder meetings — discussions and consensus building with your organization around target audience, marketing, education, advocacy or fundraising objectives;
  • Content and audience analysis — user persona development, existing content analysis and planning, editorial processes, and focus groups and surveys;
  • Usability testing — process testing, expert review, eye tracking and use case definition; and,
  • Data analysis — site traffic and other data collection, path analyses and user decision charting.

To learn more about Convio's Interactive Services' User Experience Audit and/or redesign process, read the case study on the Autism Society of America, highlighted in the November 2007 issue of the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN)'s monthly enewsletter, Connect.

How a Web Site Usability Audit Can Enhance Your Conversion Goals | Convio