When CRO and UX Converge, You Win


  • Data doesn’t lie, ever. Unless you messed up 🙂
  • Work collaboratively with creatives and marketers
  • Great design is good, but okay design that converts is better
  • Establish a baseline understanding of the users visiting the website
  • Create solutions based the data collected
  • Never stop measuring and tweaking your efforts
  • Most importantly, don’t give up
  • Take a look at my presentation on CRO/UX.

Web design is not a painters canvas. So why do we keep treating it that way? I’ve worked with hundreds of businesses and dozens of designers and too often someone in a conversation says, “We’re starting with a blank canvas, so what do you like about other websites? What colors and images do you like?”

This old school method works, but is it right? The answer is probably, “no” and that’s not because it doesn’t work, but rather good design is much more complicated. Marketers and creatives have battled for years, but it’s time they work closer together to reach a common goal. Frankly, we should have been working together all along…

Great Design is Good, But Okay Design that Converts is Better

Us creative types can crush our mouse and keyboard shortcut game to produce the most awesome lawyer site you’ve ever seen, but that’s not the point anymore. We used to flex our creative muscles and prove how awesome we were, but that game is over because our world revolves much more around analytics than it has before. Your bragging rights, come from your ability to evaluate a challenge and produce a solution that works.

Clients want more business, I mean, we live in a capitalist world, so that’s probably never going to change, right?

…and that’s where we come in.

Ideally you have analytics and some various forms of conversion tracking setup on your website. If you don’t, THEN STOP what you’re doing right now and get that going! Seriously.

Historical data is hugely valuable especially as you tweak and improve elements of your website. The power of data is that, data never lies. It can’t, unless you’ve really messed up your installation codes (it happens, it’s okay). With data in my hands, I can make real decisions that incorporate many different conversion rate optimization, user experience principles and other design considerations like color theory.

Practical CRO Stuff You Can Use

Let’s get into the details of how you leverage CRO and UX to get the results you’re looking, and praying for (because bosses, right?). It begins with data and these key metrics (for me!):

  • What does traffic look like? Are you getting traffic and from where?
  • What’s the demographic data show you in analytics? Additionally, is this product or service for men, women or anyone who wants it?
  • What do conversions look like?
    • High or low conversion rate?
    • How high is the bounce rate?
    • Are you making sales (if applicable)?
    • Do you have multiple conversion goals that align with user intent?
  • What about heat maps? Are users scrolling?
  • What are users clicking on?
  • Are users frantically scrolling?
  • How many clicks did it take to get them to a conversion point?

The questions above represent where I start, because there’s power in data. I can theorize then, about what next steps might be and these steps could be small scale improvements.

Practical UX Stuff You Can Use

We’ve identified the data points, perfect. You’ve spent some time understanding how users are interacting with the website. Sweet. Now let’s get into the nuts and bolts of how you approach improving the user experience:

  • Based on the data collected, where do you need to focus your energy?
  • Is there a primary call-to-action people aren’t seeing? Can you move it to a “hot” area (determined from heat map). And, should you change the color?
  • Are you working on a contractor website and could they benefit from embedding a quote form on the home page “above the fold” (yes, above the fold, and I got feels that I’ll share later)?
  • How many steps does it take to convert and can you reduce those? Do you really need to hide your call-to-action on a specific content page or can it be consistently visible?
  • Are you missing a CTA altogether? This is a funny one, because just recently I was working on a website where a client mentioned, “I’m just not getting the kit requests like I used to.” And, looking at his website, you’d have no idea what that even was nor any idea it was possible to request one. It’s important to understand that what you think might be obvious to users, may not be the case for someone else.

Where UX and CRO Cross Streams

(Finally, I found a way to work in a Ghostbusters reference. YAS!)

UX and CRO work together, this means you gotta collaborate with creatives and marketers to develop the solutions that drive more business for your clients. They work together. It’s not an “Us vs Them” thing.

Measuring the performance of these changes over time, is what drives value. Your client site might look a little less pretty, but I bet it will convert better…even if that equates to one more conversion per month. Incremental improvement is what you’re looking for and you keep moving forward. One more conversion a month, is one more conversion the client may have never had, so be proud of that and work more collaboratively with your team. You will succeed, just don’t give up.

Remember, data doesn’t lie and when you’re getting better results for your clients, they’re going to love you for it.

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