Holiday insights to sharpen your websites

holiday-in-adelaide Photo Patrick PatrickOver the long weekend, I had a ‘staycation’ here in Adelaide and it reminded me of the value of looking at your business and website from the perspective of your audiences.

I have lived in Adelaide for a good chunk of my life, run a weekly podcast about it, work with hundreds of local businesses and feel pretty confident that I know my city.

But I was still surprised by many of the little things I saw while holidaying in my home town.

And I also learned some things about some business websites that prompted this post.

You can keep your raw fish and smoke it

As we tasted our first hot days of the season, I felt a growing need for sushi.

However, with little kids in tow I wanted to check menus and suitability before trekking across town.

A certain chain of sushi restaurants had a website almost impossible to navigate on a mobile phone: completely unresponsive forcing me to pinch and zoom to slide around the pages and their food menus were large, clumsy images rather than text, which would have been easier to search.

Needless to say, they lost our business.

The lesson here is if you think any of your potential customers might go looking for you or a business like yours while on the move, make sure you can navigate to helpful information in bite-sized, mobile-friendly morsels.

A game of cat and mouse with reservations

An absolutely delightful find was the Hungry Hippo Cafe in Hindley Street where you can choose from hundreds of board games to play while sipping and nibbling.

However, the one aspect that could be causing them to ‘miss a turn’ at the moment is to make reservations you need to call a mobile and unfortunately, as they only operate from 4pm-late, it was after 4 when they began replying to requests; a little late if you’d been trying to make a 4pm reservation to accommodate kids in school holidays.

The business is excellent and the small team is most likely stretched, so I’d be wanting to investigate a rostering system for having someone check and respond to reservations by mid afteroon or look into some sort of instant confirmation system for booking tables. WordPress has some plugins and there are plenty of third party systems that are affordable so that customers can be quickly reassured they’ll have a seat at the table.

Again, this is the sort of thing that it can take an outside pair of eyes to see.

Perhaps you could do some role playing with your business and website, or tap us on the should to run a quick ‘mystery shopping’ project for you to give you some outsider feedback.

Have a holiday at work?

The moral of today’s story is to try to get a glimpse of your business and its website through the eyes of potential clients and customers in some of their common ‘use case’ scenarios – trying to find you, making bookings on the run, looking for reference material, etc.

I’ve noticed that offices and workplaces can feel different when you are on leave, so you might even try having a holiday at work one day soon and try reaching out to your business as a stranger would – a small change in mindset can be a good as a holiday, they say!