Parents and high school students face plenty of distractions while doing online website searches. You may not be able to control distractions in the home, but you can control the content on your college website, making it work for both you and your site visitors.
People will abandon a task on your website in mere seconds, especially if they’re frustrated. Is your application page easily found? Is the button for open house sign-ups too small? Is your schedule-a-visit link buried? Any of these irritations are enough to cause your visitors to growl in frustration, and worse, leave your site altogether.
Use these elimination actions to get rid of ambiguity on your higher ed website, and allow your visitors to leave your site excited rather than exasperated.
1. Eliminate error: Size matters.
Make buttons and navigation big enough so when people are tapping, clicking, or swiping with fingers and thumbs they can hit the right target. According to research, it’s even harder for people to tap on the right thing when they are walking. Watch your spacing between links and buttons. Check the size and spacing on mobile devices (tablets and mobile phones) as well as viewing your site on a desktop screen.
2. Eliminate disinterest: Think in chunks.
Every time you see a scoop of ice cream with big chocolatey chunks, think about your website content. Chunk up your website text with clear headlines and subheads to help people quickly and easily scan the page to find the information they want. Use bulleted and numbered lists for the same purpose. A lengthy flow of text on a web page is daunting to visitors.
3. Eliminate doubt: Communicate clearly.
Your visitors use your site to complete various tasks including signing up for events, subscribing to newsletters, and filling out profiles and forms. Don’t leave people wondering if they have completed the task. If they sign up for an event, confirm their action on screen. Preferably place the confirmation near the area on the screen where they last interacted. If they had to click or tap “submit” at the bottom of the page, yet the confirmation of their action is at the top, they may miss it and wonder if the task is completed. You may want to confirm through email as well.
After abandoning a task, site visitors may not return and you have lost the opportunity to connect with that prospective student. Reduce frustration wherever possible. Review your site closely with this in mind. Consider employing basic usability testing to keep your users in a positive frame of mind toward your brand.