What do I mean by the term ‘remove friction’? In the web design world, friction refers to anything that could annoy or confuse your visitor. Whether this be a website that is hard to navigate, uses an overly-complicated layout or hasn’t even been updated since the 90’s!
Below, I’ve listed three examples that I, as a visitor, have found annoying recently.
Personally, I’ve found that many gyms and personal trainers rely on the use of word documents to gather information. While this is necessary for finding out the client’s goals, medical conditions and other required information, this type of format is incredibly difficult in our current era of technology.
A word document, while easy for the company, poses a new, complicated process for the client. The majority of people today use phones to complete most of their life admin. This means that getting a word document via email, having to print it out, fill it in, scan it back into the computer and send it back is a laborious process that could easily be done via much simpler methods. Below, I list a few solutions
Recently, I purchased a service from a local company. Once complete, they forwarded me an invoice via email. While this is common, the invoice itself was an old-fashioned PDF with the amount breakdown and bank details. Now, I am well aware this is still a very common practice with many companies but it doesn’t make it any less complicated for me.
For small business owners, like myself, pausing my current task to complete the multi-step process of paying this invoice just seems like a massive interruption to my schedule. Personally, I don’t want to waste twenty minutes going into my banking app, setting up a new payee, entering their details, double (and triple!) checking their details and sending off the payment. Only to then have to go and reconcile the invoice manually with my accounts software. I and many others are probably guilty of adding this as one of the many points on the to-do list and moving on with my day.
When sending invoices, I’ve partnered myself with a payment gateway provider called ‘Stripe’. By doing this, I enabled my invoices to have a ‘Pay Now’ button, allowing the client to pay then and there. This even works with Apple and Google pay, for further convenience! While doing this may cost me a small amount in transaction fees, at least I’m able to sit back and know my clients will be able to pay the invoice without follow-up. One less thing on the to-do list!
Some companies may ask you to fill in a form to give them better knowledge of your request. While this is fine, it’s so frustrating when the company creates the form and turns it into a multi-step process: fill in the form, fill in your details, send off the form, and check your emails repeatedly for a reply in the next 1-5 business days. It becomes a song and dance just to find out if it’s even worth using their services!
For example, I used a site yesterday to trade in some of my old camera gear (mpb.com) and had one of the smoothest experiences getting a quote. The form itself was intuitive, simple to use and gave me an answer within seconds! Compare this to somewhere like the London Camera Exchange. While you can submit a request, it’s a long process and nowhere near as smooth or intuitive.
Make your customers’ experience as seamless as possible! I’m all too aware of these processes that cause friction. In the vast majority of cases, I know how easy it would be to improve the process for little cost. Making your customers’ experience better shouldn’t be a one-time-thing-times are changing and we need to evolve with that. Perfect examples of constant evolution are Royal Mail and the .gov website. They’re constantly updating to be able to provide a better experience!
The previous example of fitness websites comes from personal experience. So, when redesigning a gym site for a client of mine (Stu-Nique Fitness), we progressed the site to include a form, rather than a word document. Now, all the client has to do is click a link, fill in the form and submit it using their account. It can’t get much easier! By doing this, the sign-up is so much simpler and makes it easy for the client and gym owner! The form never even has to be printed as it’ll be stored digitally.
If you’re looking for something similar for yourself, my advice is to use a reputable form provider that’s GDPR compliant. The last thing you want is to be on the wrong side of the law with people’s data these days! And if you’re taking payments, look for a system that will make the process as seamless as possible.
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