Category: User Experience

Website Audit 101: Don’t Skip It

It all starts with a website audit

7 Significant Conclusions We Learned After a YMCA Website Launch

7 Significant Conclusions We Learned After a YMCA Website Launch

On Superbowl Sunday, 2016 we launched the brand new YMCA Greater Nashua website. After more than four months of research, design, and development, our project was coming to an end. But after launch, we didn’t just celebrate and let the website out into the world. We kept an eye on things to make sure the website was performing as best as it could for their 10,000 – 15,000 unique monthly visitors. Using tactics such as heatmapping and lead generation, we set up some systems that could teach us about the website users post launch.

With the data we collected, we were able to make impactful changes on the fly, and make sure the website users were having a great experience. Here are a few things we learned in the first two weeks post-launch.

1.) 57% of Engaged Users Were on a Mobile Device

When looking at the users that spent more than 10 seconds on the website, 57% of them were on a phone or a tablet. Knowing this, we had to make sure a mobile visitor could perform the same actions as a desktop user. One of the changes we made post-launch was to make sure the search bar was fully functional on a mobile device.

We also noticed that mobile visitors were more likely to stay on the website to register online instead of using their Daxko login to browse programs.

Looking at the scroll heatmaps, we found that mobile visitors were more apt to scroll than a desktop user would.

YMCA Mobile Web Design

2.) Most Users Want to See Classes and Programs

The data we collected before the website build showed us that the majority of users were looking for programs or schedules. So we made sure these two menu items were extremely accessible from the homepage. Looking at the heatmaps after launch just reinforced what we already knew. Over 24% of clicks were to a program page, and about 20% went to the schedules page.

YMCA Website Heatmap

3.) People Still Love PDF Schedules

Being tech-minded, this was a little surprising to us. It turns out that a solid amount of people would rather download a full PDF schedule than use the mobile app feed on the website, or download the mobile app on their phone.

We still made sure to encourage members to download the YMCA App for Apple or Android. But sometimes we would even encounter users downloading the app and also the PDF schedule on their way out.

YMCA PDF Schedules

4.) Some YMCA Members Like to Browse Through Daxko

After day one of testing, immediately members would look for a way to log in to register for programs. The old website had a Register button at the top where people could log in directly to Daxko, and they were missing that feature after the new website was launched. Even though the programs were now feeding to the website pages, we saw that we needed to put this option back. With the update, members had the option to choose between logging into Daxko or staying on the new website.

YMCA website Daxko

5.) It’s Easy for Daxko Program Tags to Get Out of Control

After we linked the new website to Daxko using Program Connector, hundreds of defunct program tags were fed through. This made it easy for our clients to see that in order for this to work efficiently, they were going to need to do some spring cleaning. Our clients responded quickly and trimmed down the program tags from hundreds to 23 well organized tags for the program connector to pull in.

Now that Daxko information is being fed directly into the website, it’s also easy to discover where class titles, descriptions, times, fees or contact information were missing for each program. If information was missing or outdated, the assigned program director was reached so he or she could log into Daxko and make the right update.

Daxko Program Tags

6.) A Properly Functioning Search Bar Can Do Wonders

Accessing the search bar was an immediate behavior. It helped tremendously for new and especially for existing members to find information quickly. The search feature for mobile was brought to the forefront to make sure mobile visitor access to search for anything at all times. Since they didn’t have a search bar before the new website launched, we weren’t able to foresee the impact this feature could have. By testing the website post-launch we were able to understand that this is often the quickest and easiest way for users to find what they’re looking for.

YMCA website search

7.) Capturing Leads is Easy

We set up a few forms on the new website to start collecting leads. One is a pop up form for a free 3-day-pass and the other is a form for members interested in scheduling a tour. This is the first time this YMCA has had anything set up for collecting leads, so our goal was a 1.5% conversion rate.

2 weeks later, we’re at a 3.1% conversion rate. That means that out of every 100 people that see a form, 3 of them fill it out. This is double what we had as our goal.

The welcome center directors get an email notification when a lead comes in, and they follow up by phone or email. All the information is fed into a MailChimp account, so if they want to change to a more automated approach in the future they can.

Seeing such a positive response to these forms opens up a lot of opportunities for inbound marketing tactics in the future–a lot of opportunities that we would not know about if we hadn’t kept track of these things post launch. We now know what a YMCA website is capable of and we are so excited to share it.

YMCA website search

A website is not complete right after it’s launched. By paying attention to the users, you can make small changes over time that will have a huge impact on how people interact with your website. We never thought we would learn this much in just 2 weeks after launching, but we’re happy we did, and very excited to bring these lessons with us to any projects we have to follow.

YMCA Free Consultation

Writing Website Content – Ask Yourself These 4 Questions

writing website copy

Are you having trouble writing website content? Ask yourself these four questions.

Will people know what I do within seconds?
Will they understand what page they’re on and what it’s about?
Will they know what to do next?
Why should they buy/subscribe/download from this site instead of from someone else?
When writing website content, try to put yourself in the users shoes. If that’s difficult, ask someone else to be the user and ask them if they can answer those four questions.
As marketers, the best thing you can do for your product is to start by forgetting about your product and focusing on the user and what they are looking for when they land on your website. It’s tempting to talk about all the features of your product, but you need to resist. Because, guess what? It’s not all about you. That sounded harsh, but let me explain.
Mint is an application that helps people manage their money. Here is a look at their home page today:
writing website content
I spotted the word “you” or “your” about a dozen time. There is no mention of “we” or “our product” anywhere. This is because it’s not about them.
This website also does a great job with what would be my next two suggestions.

Create a few headlines and sub-headline ideas for your most important pages.

To combat question #4, (why should I buy from you?) use a powerful value proposition and steer clear from generic cliches, gobbledygook terms and corporate speak.

Make sure to include clear call-to-actions and next steps.

Include links in your body copy, next step links at the end of the copy and calls-to-action wherever appropriate. Include a little direction and you’ll be glad you did.

25 Tactics Great Websites Use

Cross Browser Compatibility

The further into the internet age we get, it seems as though the more freedom we are given. You can access the internet through a variety of devices, and also through many different browsers. In the beginning there was simply Internet Explorer, but today we have Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, and still Internet Explorer. Because no two of these browsers are alike, a website may display a certain way on one browser, and a completely different way on another. Making sure a website works properly on all browsers is what we call cross browser compatibility.


Browser Variety


The fact that there are so many different browsers out there can be difficult to deal with, but it gets even more complicated than that. Some people still have some very outdated versions of browsers they are running on their computers, which is why it’s so important that you know your audience. In most cases you do not really have to worry about designing for outdated browsers because the majority of people know to update their browser to help experience the best the web has to offer. However, if you were to be designing a website that would target for instance, an elderly demographic, you will want to take this into consideration. Some people just do not understand computers and software well enough to grasp that they should update or do not do so out of fear of causing harm to their computer. The existence of viruses, malware and the like make many people afraid to download things even if they appear to be trustworthy.


Remember the User


To maintain a properly functioning, great-looking website, you have to be aware of cross-browser compatibility and also with responsive design. You have likely encountered websites that don’t display properly on your browser, and this can take away from your overall experience. When designing with cross browser compatibility in mind it is just like any other aspect of design, you must think of the end user, what their needs are, and how to meet them. If you adhere to these guidelines then you will set yourself up for success in every project you take part in.


25 Tactics Great Websites Use