Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Constant feedback builds confidence

I'm not sure if it is our human nature or a societal development aimed at survival, but we are not a self-assured animal.  Even the strongest willed humans are constantly looking for signs and encouragement that they are on the right path.

This is important for businesses and websites because so few do a good job of providing constant feedback.  If a customer has to ask about the status of a project or a user is left wondering how many more forms they have to fill out, you have created an uneasy experience.  Because most people shy away from confrontation, they will trudge forward, hoping that the situation will soon fix itself, while their experience of your site suffers.

Many common user experience developments have been created from this understanding of the need for constant assurance. Most long forms or buying experiences have "the progress bar."  Many forms feature instant feedback on important fields.  And when you "like" a video on YouTube, they instantly fake the count by adding 1 to whatever count you see on the page.  

These advances all serve to give the user confidence that they are almost done, have chosen a good username, or that their vote has been counted.  This works for forms and action items on your site, but what about during the evaluation or research process?  How do you assure people that they have found the right solution?

Each business is different, but your landing pages and in-depth product pages should give your visitors the same sense of assurance.  Depending on your business, you can use product reviews, testimonials, case-studies, client lists, associations, or guarantees.  The key is to view these items as customer experience improvers that tell visitors they are in the right place.

How do you build confidence in your visitors?