Post Authored by Aaron Dorsey, PMP, Sr. Director of Strategic Client Technology
When was the last time you added your event registration or housing site to your experience design checklist?
If most meeting and event strategists are honest with themselves, they’ve probably not paid too much attention to how these sites really function. Sure, they make them look sharp and on brand for that year’s event theme, but how often do they really examine the user experience?
It’s easy to just launch and run, overlooking the sites in the effort of focusing more attention on the spectacle that will be the main event.
If that describes your plan of attack, I would strongly encourage you to rethink your methodology.
Your event’s registration and housing websites are usually one of the FIRST touchpoints you have with attendees. And if you don’t capture them then and there, many may leave and never come back.
Designing the Web Experience
At Experient, everything we do is powered by the engine of experience design. We put ourselves in the shoes of the registrant, wanting to fully understand what they’re experiencing and why.
In the realm of registration and housing, we want to clearly understand user behavior—in real-time—and make decisions based upon that data.
It’s important to identify and understand exactly who your end users are, so you can design for their specific needs or motivations. Depending on your audience, these can be drastically different.
Knowing the answers to these questions can help you build an efficient, user friendly website:
- What is the key action I want my users to take? Is it registration? Is it adding sessions? Is it booking housing?
- Where are my attendees finding success?
- What are the barriers to them completing the desired key action?
- How long are they spending on each step?
- When are they exiting?
- What does their progression through the site look like?
You may notice that we don’t ask “why.” While it might seem like an important question to add to this list, the answers would be too assumption based, leading to more speculation than evidence.
There are tools to help you answer these questions easily, but one of the best ways is to simply ask the users themselves. Put a small widget at the bottom of each page asking if the page was easy to understand, navigate, etc. If the feedback is negative, ask for a short explanation why or how to make it better.
It’s effective, completely optional, less intrusive and we’ve seen examples of sites that went from less than 100 responses to over 20,000. As a result, we were able to make changes quickly to improve the experience.
Coupled with the power of page analytics that measure how much time they spend on each page and when they exit, you have a treasure trove of behavioral data to inform your next decisions.
Put it to the Test
Once you’ve collected user data in real-time, that’s where the fun really begins.
Now you can start analyzing what issues have been brought up and find new solutions through A/B testing. It’s easy to make assumptions based on the data and implement change. It’s more effective to find the real source of the problem through testing.
Through A/B testing, you can show a group of attendees one version of the website and show another group something slightly different.
This allows you to observe reactions from option A and option B. What option is driving better results? Use the results to determine whether you’ve improved the experience or solved the issue.
What if you could record users going through the site, seeing the process through their eyes?
By following the natural progression of a user through the site, you can get a clear idea of what they’re experiencing that you might not have thought of when designing the site initially or testing it yourself. When you are so close to the experience that you could almost register blindfolded, it’s necessary to take a step back and get a fresh perspective.
For example, you could notice that users keep scrolling back and forth between registration categories, unsure what the differences are and which one they’re supposed to select. This would tell you that making the choices simpler or more clearly stated could help increase registration numbers.
The goal of all these practices is to understand the behavior of potential attendees in real-time, so that you can design an experience that moves them from a potential registrant to a loyal attendee.
The Behavioral Sciences Toolkit
One of the services Experient customers benefit from is our Behavioral Sciences Toolkit, a comprehensive suite of tools that will make your event planning process more informed and even more rewarding.
This toolkit provides event strategists with a variety of ways to measure engagement, understand satisfaction and collect feedback from registrants in real-time, helping you make more effective, data-driven decisions.
Are you measuring your event’s registration or housing page performance?
If not, join me in a free webinar and find out how we’re using behavioral sciences to drive more registrants to engage with your websites. We’ll walk you through the five-step process of the Behavioral Sciences Toolkit and help you build the best version of your event.
[WEBINAR] Your Registration and Housing Website is Live… Now What!?
Tuesday, April 30, 1 p.m. EST