Growing up in the late 70’s and early 80’s, Choose Your Own Adventure books (and later the games) were popular activities for kids. If you ever read one of these books, you’d find that they had multiple storylines that lead to different outcomes based on the decisions you make during the story.
I thought about these books as I was mind mapping a recent website, and came to the realization that this is more or less what we attempt to do with the UI (user interface) for a better UX (user experience) on websites that we build for our clients—albeit without the optional doomsday ending.
Traditionally in our industry, we have approached websites as a list of pages with headers. For example, you have an About Page, a Contact Page, a Services Page, and perhaps a History Page, and some of those pages have subpages with additional, related content.
As I was working through the UI on this particular site, I had an “aha” moment… What if the user followed a path to an outcome that they chose as opposed to merely clicking around the traditional page layout? Of course, we would script and craft these various paths, but there would be multiple outcomes based on different needs and desires.
Example: Your company sells services, products and consulting. If the user chooses to follow the services path, we can lead them into products and/or consulting by plugging these options within the services story. We lead them on a journey that ends at their point of interest and has a better chance of converting into a lead.
Check out this example. By following this approach, my last few mind maps have looked more like weather maps than website mind maps with a lot of arrows charting out different paths and weaving them into a story with an ending.
Traditional Mind Map
Like in the example above, for this particular client, I decided to include a path that ultimately leads site users to fill out the contact form or pick up the phone. If that’s your desire too, there are some things you’ll need to accomplish this.
Start with a solid base and understanding of your purpose. If your end result is for the user to email you for more information so you can capture a lead, you’ll craft different journeys through the site to help them arrive to a contact us destination or conclusion.
Keep it simple. Ask yourself, “what is the core purpose of my business?” Then stick to it, ensuring that every potential path is logical, easy to follow, and leads the user through your business based on what you understand that interests them.
Anticipate your customers’ needs. They landed on your site for a reason. Now is the time to think marketing strategy. Generally, you’ll start with a call to action (your intention for the client on this journey, e.g. a phone call or an email) along with a series of navigation options. I like to think of these navigation items and call-to-actions as decision-making points in the story of your business.
Be sure that you consider redirecting the user in case they wander or get distracted along their journey. Since you’ve anticipated their needs to the best of your ability, including potential distractions, you will enjoy the results of a satisfied user and more leads!
If you’d like The Image Shoppe to help you generate more leads with your website, let us help you out with our process.
Meanwhile, here is a cool little choose your own adventure game that Stephen Colbert dropped on the CBS website. Enjoy!
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