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Do You Know Your Users? - Articles Surfing

Get users to stay at your site longer by knowing what they do and how they use your site. Whether your website is selling a product or a service simply content you can help users to buy more and stay longer by adapting your site to their peculiar habits.

By using a web trailer can observe users that visit your site and classify them according to what they do. People who use the web can be broken down into several categories according to how they use the web: the Mouse Reader, the Nervous Nellie, Slow and Steady, and Speedy.

Mouse Reader

The Mouse Reader is easy to spot because they move the mouse along with the text as they read your website. Mouse Readers are really great because they let you know exactly what they are looking at, because they show you. If the writing on your website is confusing, they will point it out to you because they will move the mouse back and forth over it as they re-read it.

If your site has a lot of Mouse Readers, it may tell you that your site is difficult to read. Look carefully at the default font size on your pages. It may be too small. Or, perhaps you have long paragraphs that need to be broken up. If your page appeals to a group with fading eyesight or visual impairment you may find these people become Mouse Readers on your site. Mouse Readers show up a lot on pages that have a flowing layout that lets lines get exceedingly long when the browser is maximized.

Nervous Nellie

Nervous Nellie is not at ease on your site at all. She will hover over links and navigation elements, unsure of what to do with them. Sometimes the Nervous Nellie is just inexperienced with the Web. Other times, the Nervous Nellie might be uncomfortable putting their email address or credit card number into your website.

You can figure out how to help the Nervous Nellie by seeking out the source of their confusion or mistrust. If there are interface elements that seem to bring out the Nervous Nellies, you may need to redesign them. If the Nervous Nellies seem to be mistrusting, you may want to add elements to your site that communicate assurance and trust like icons from your e-commerce provider indicating security. It may be as simple as mentioning a money back guarantee on your website or a mailing address to indicate you are a physical business.

Slow and Steady

The Slow and Steady user is a very thorough and methodical user of your site. Don't be surprised if the Slow and Steady user reads every page on your website from top to bottom. This user is probably an enthusiast on the same subject as your site and probably has some interest in every item she may see on your site.

The presence of Slow and Steady users on your site is a good sign. It says that your site contains lots of useful material, presented in a way that does not put people off.

Speedy Mouse

The Speedy Mouse will visit your site and quickly scrolls through pages. She will often click on links even before pages finish loading. The speedy mouse is very driven, and often on a search for something specific. By watching the Speedy Mouse user you will be able to tell if your site makes it easy to find critical information or not.

If it is difficult, you will see the Speedy Mouse users click though lots of pages. They will often scroll up and down a page several times scanning it for the information they seek.

Sometimes the Speedy Mouse will come to the same page more than once. This is a good sign that user cannot tell where a link is going to take them. You can address this by updating link titles to reflect the content of links they point to.

Other problems the Speedy Mouse can point out is the lack of an effective search capability. If you have no search box or one that doesn't work well, the Speedy Mouse will go digging through your site herself.

To optimize your site for the Speedy Mouse user, first make sure that your site has an effective search capability. This will get the speedy users to the pages they seek quickly. Then you will want to optimize the content for quick reading. Break up long paragraphs. Put content into bulleted lists were possible. Highlight critical phrases with bold, but do so sparingly.

Learning more about your users and their habits while using your site will help you get the most out of the visitors to your site. The single best tool you can get to identify user behavior on your website is a web trailer. Try out the SnapTrails web trailer for free at http://snaptrails.com and start getting to know your users.

Submitted by:

Brian Wojcik

Brian Wojcik has been developing technologies for the World Wide Web since 1996 and is the Chief Architect of SnapTrails.com



Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).


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