Why and When You Should Collect Website Feedback
Quantitative analytics data helps answer every imaginable question of “what”, “how”, “where”, and “when” regarding your online presence. “What are my visitors looking at on my website?”, “How are they moving from A to B?”, etc.
But to understand why users are behaving as they do, you need qualitative data. This is where subjective feedback from your users or visitors comes in. Without these insights, your analytics data is incomplete.
There are several ways of collecting feedback from your website visitors, but the most common method and the one I’m going to refer to here, is using a feedback widget on webpages that allows visitors to give a rating and/or leave a comment about their experience while they are on the site.
Why and when should you collect feedback from your visitors? In general, there are four scenarios where website feedback is invaluable.
#1. You’ve made, or about to make, changes to your website
User feedback is invaluable when it comes to decision making about changing how your website looks and works. Whether you’re planning a complete redesign or just adding a new section to the site, inputs from your users can be used in several phases of the redesign process: Research, testing, and launching.
For the research phase, gather insights from your users to learn how they find the state of your current website and what needs to be improved. Ask them how they would rate certain key pages. Then check if your redesign/changes are addressing the issues raised.
For the testing phase, you can add the feedback widget to either an entire test site or specific sections of pages where you’ve made changes. Ask your visitors how they like the design and if it helps them complete the tasks they came to do. Allowing for qualitative responses during a test phase will help you immensely when making the final tweaks before going live with the new design.
Finally, you can keep requesting feedback after launching, again, by either adding a survey to the entire site or to the selected pages that have been redesigned.
If you would like to go into more depth of these different phases, you can check out our series on website redesign. There are specific posts dedicated to research, testing, and launching, respectively.
#2. Something stopped working
Assuming that the structure of your web pages is based on some assumption, or maybe even fact-based prediction, of your users’ behavior, consider the following scenario. For a while, your analytics data has supported your hypothesis: Visitors are going from A to B to C as predicted. But then a change happens – either gradually or abruptly. The route is disrupted and your visitors are leaving your website earlier than you had intended. Either their habits are changing or some element on your site is broken, be it the content of a page, a button, or a form. In any case, something isn’t working as it should and you need to figure out what’s going on.
In a case like this, you can add a feedback widget on the exit page in question (the last page a visitor views before leaving your site). This is a chance to figure out why visitors are leaving. You can ask your users if they found what they were looking for and if their experience met their expectations.
Adding the feedback widget to selected key pages is a targeted feedback survey as opposed to a general website survey.
#3. To measure post-transaction satisfaction
Another use for visitor feedback is in the form of a satisfaction survey after a transaction, such as placing an order, signing up for an event, or completing some other kind of exchange, has taken place. The page they land on after the transaction has taken place is a perfect spot for collecting feedback.
Give your users the possibility of evaluating the entire transaction process. This way, you can learn of any concerns your visitors or clients might have had and use this insight to evaluate whether the content of your pages informs and guides users sufficiently throughout the process.
There are many benefits of collecting feedback after a transaction has taken place. Firstly, the user is already engaged and therefore more likely to leave a response, and secondly, by allowing for feedback you show that you actually care about your relationship to your users even at this stage of the user journey.
#4. Sentiment survey
Even if your web presence is running smoothly; your redesign has been well received, the flows and routes of your pages are working, and user satisfaction is high, there’s no reason to become complacent. It never hurts to continuously gather general feedback. This is an ideal way for you to easily check the sentiment of your users now and then, and to know whether you are still delivering the experience you aim for. Online habits and web users’ behavior changes all the time, so your website has to keep up. By using a feedback widget you can detect changes in trends and preferences among your users as they happen.
- Remember that subjective user feedback about your online presence is an essential part of your analytics data.
- Website feedback will help you answer questions such as: “What needs to be redesigned on our site and why?”, “Why is our conversion flow or anticipated user routes not working?”, “What’s the general level of user satisfaction and what’s their experience like, when they are visiting our site?”
- A feedback survey can be general and rolled out across an entire website, or it can be targeted, that is, used to gather data about specific sections or services on a site.
- As with everything else analytics related, data is just data – you need to ask the right questions in order to get value from feedback surveys.
Learn How You Can Make Use of Website Feedback – Book a Personalized Non-Binding Consultation with Siteimprove today.
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