Ever wondered why you might find it difficult to navigate around some websites? When we encounter a site which does not fit our expected norms, it can at best be a little jarring, at worst it will cause us to distrust the product or service and not purchase.
If it’s your aim to reach global audiences, you really need to dig deep into how users act while on your page – and the added challenge is that behaviours differ from country to country.
To better understand just what’s happening when visitors hit their pages, computer technology giant Dell has been working with international digital agency Oban Digital. Using tracking software Think-Track ™, together with qualitative questionnaires, Oban conducted a study across 7 countries which generated valuable insights into how 1,400 consumers viewed selected Dell pages.
Why study on-site behaviour?
If you really want to improve page and website performance, you’ll need to learn how users from different cultures move around webpages; with this information you’ll discover which parts of a page users think are most relevant, as well as reveal where to place key elements such as images, navigation links, buttons or calls-to-action (CTAs). From here you can then make informed decisions about your designs and develop hypotheses for conversion testing.
The findings from the first three countries (Japan, UK and Canada) show markedly different behaviour on-page, something which can then generate further points of testing and analysis. By creating velocity maps (pictured below) Think-Track ™ has provided a fantastic insight on the prominent eye movement over the company’s pages.
The arrows indicate the direction of eye movement, while the colour indicates how fast these movements are (red means fast and yellow means slow). From the maps, it is possible to see that the direction of the arrows (and colour) is quite different for each country.
So, what did we find?
- Japanese users start reading the whole page from right-to-left; they also scan the content a few times (that’s why you see the swirl on the image).
- UK users don’t have preferences for parts of the hero banner (picture and text are treated equally). Also, they scan the content from left to right.
- Users in Canada pay more attention to the text in the hero banner – so, for them, having that feature on the hero banner works. They also move slowly over the content in comparison to UK users, suggesting they spent more time looking at it.
To help us understand these customers’ views, we asked them about their attitudes to the page too. We found that some of their perceptions differed by country, though there were some interesting similarities. All consumers in these 3 countries did not feel the page was localised – which supports our previous observations on how consumers across countries navigate the page. However, they tended to agree (to some extent) that the page felt clear, welcoming and colourful. Clearly, there are other aspects that could be addressed for particular cultures, such as making the page more colourful for Japanese consumers or making it clearer for British people.
How can you use this information?
Seeing how users skim Dell’s page, we can provide ideas on how we can make their navigation more customised for them. Since users in Japan and Canada spend more time reading its content, it may be more appropriate to add content to the page. Meanwhile, for British users, using relevant keywords in section headings could improve navigation across the page – given that they seem to skim the page rather than read it.
The maps give insights into how you might design pages for each country too. In the case of Canada, a CTA may be better placed on the hero banner, but for a page in Japan it may achieve more results positioned in the top-right – all these are vital insights for wireframe design, which can then also be A/B tested.
The attitudinal survey results demonstrate how different cultures respond to (in this case) a particular page. However, together with the flow maps, we can create a picture of how we could customise a page to optimise the experience.
Want to find out how users from different cultures explored Dell pages? download the full Dell whitepaper report.