A few months back, we hypothesized that moving away from a “service-based navigation” and creating a “problem-based website navigation” would increase conversions and engagement and provide a better user experience.
After gathering qualitative data through user research, quantitative data through Google analytics, and user testing, we transitioned a few of our client’s website navigation to a problem-based architecture.
This increased conversions and user satisfaction, and engagement increased significantly.
Here’s that story.
The Problems Being Solved For
Most websites have primary navigation built upon internal services and product or service descriptions. This is causing problems such as:
- You are positioning your business as a vendor and not a partner can inherently make a service seem like a price-based commodity.
- This does not align with the new user’s mindset, which ng in a conversational direction due to voice search becoming the norm.
- You are not positioning your business as one that solves problems or addresses client problems.
So is there a better way to build website navigation? We think so, and we call it problem-based navigation based on tasks.
So what is a problem-based navigation structure? We define it as navigation that is d framed based on your problems and challenges and the solutions you provide. It is inherently more conversational to align with the mindset and challenges your users face.
Step 1: Understand Your Target User’s Problems
This is one of the core principles when building navigation using a problem-based methodology.
To succeed, you must meet with clients and users and keep pressing and reframing your questions to get to their current challengesThe biggest mistake businesses make in this step is settling for generic or high-level problems and not digging in to get the core issue that would cause someone to need one of your services.
Step 2: Find The Emotional Trigger
An emotional trigger is a response to external stimuli that causes you to take action. In the digital world, it is what your users encounter, driving them to need and then search for a solution to their problem.
Defining this emotional trigger will provide insight into navigation language and help connect the service page to the problem statement. This connection can be accomplished by restating the emotional trigger on the service page.
Step 3: Do The Keyword Research
Usability experts know anchoring the user’s mental model with the service offered is critical. Likewise, SEOs know that including primary keywords within internal links can help with Google rankings.
When creating your problem-based navigation, include the keyword target in the problem statement to connect the service to the problem and help with SEO.
Step 4: Create Each Navigation Label In Conversational Language
Instead of just listing your services, as most websites do, wrap each service in a problem statement you’ve identified as a primary problem defined in step 1 above.
This may seem like a small change, but conversational statements align better with mental models and are more relatable for users.
Step 5: Be Precise And Focused With Navigation Labels
When creating a navigation structure like this, it’s tempting to be long-winded and write lengthy problem statements. But remember, this is still navigation, and thus the labels should be short.
A longer problem statement may be hyper-focused on a particular problem. It may cause other problems with content consumption and design elements or be too detailed for the page being linked.
There are many benefits to rebuilding your navigation to focus on client problems and away from your services. Below are a few advantages that became apparent when we started building our client’s (and our own) website navigation based on solution and problem statements.
It focuses Your Services On Problem-Solving.
Ultimately when users come to your website, they search for a solution to their problem. They may not always know what they need (or think they know what they need but are incorrect), but they do know where their business is having problems.
Focusing your navigation on these problems helps guide users to the correct service or solution.
It Positions Your Business As A Partner, Not A Vendor
Building your business helps you think more like a consultant and less like a salesperson. Ultimately you are trying to help someone solve a problem they are having and not trying to sell or push your services on them.
The goal of a business should be to become a trusted partner who solves client problems and not one who pushes their services without understanding client challenges.
The difference between being a vendor and becoming a trusted partner is significant.
- Vendor services are subject to commoditization and are usually bought based heavily on price, and the ability to differentiate your services from the competition becomes exponentially more difficult. Thus, your clients feel they can leave and find what you offer elsewhere.
- When you become a true partner and solve client problems, it becomes less about price and more about the relationship. Clients are less likely to worry about your hourly rate, they are more likely to take chances, trust increases, and client turnover drops significantly.
It Aligns With New User Behavior
With users’ thought processes and behaviors becoming more conversational when engaging online and voice search becoming the norm, building your website’s navigation to mirror this behavioral direction is one key to providing a best-in-class user experience.
Feel free to reach out if you need help creating a professional website design, redesigning, or creating a great information architecture.