Organisations could alienate as many as 27% of their customers following an overhaul of their websites
Organisations should think twice before engaging in radical redesigns of their websites as new research shows that website users often become confused, disorientated and even distrustful of a brand when grappling with an unfamiliar new-look website.
The research conducted by international consumer research specialist Intersperience, found that navigating redesigned websites is an acute problem for a significant segment of the population defined as ‘Late Starters’ who represent 28% of the total online population.
As many as 27% of Late Starters said they would experience distrust or difficulty if a familiar website underwent restructuring, while 62% of them said they experience problems in navigating new websites.
One respondent described their emotions when tackling new websites: “To me it’s like standing in a dark room, everyone else seems to know where the light switch is but I’m there with a rubbish torch...so you have this pinprick of light but there‘s this massive darkness everywhere else.”
The research, which is part of a wider study into ‘Digital Ageing,’ highlights the importance of recognising that online customers are not a homogenous group. Customers exhibit marked differences in behaviour, ability and preferences when conducting tasks online, according to Paul Hudson, Chief Executive of Intersperience.
Hudson said: “ There is a wide divergence in behaviour types which defies classification by standard simplistic measures such as age. Organisations need to fully understand this and to use this knowledge to inform their online strategy or they risk not just losing customers but damaging customer trust.”
Hudson added: “Decisions about online investment can be over-influenced by technology but technology advances at a faster rate than human behaviour. Successful strategies focus on helping customers through an online journey at their own pace.”
Close to 40% of Late Starters strongly believe that web pages generally are not logically structured and they are confused by what they regard as too much choice on the internet.
They exhibit rule-based behaviour online, preferring to follow step-by-step instructions. Consequently, they do not react well to what they see as ‘deviation’ from normal procedures such as unfamiliar layout or navigation tools and as one respondent said, are fearful of ‘clicking the wrong box and doing something ridiculous like ordering 10 TVs.’