Links Scents

When trying to accomplish their site goals, users tend to follow a "scent" and when they lose the scent, they fall into unpredictable behaviours, such as randomly clicking on links or hitting the back button. Sites where the target information has a strong scent are the ones that perform the best in user studies.

By providing a single clear ‘scent’, we can direct users to complete the tasks we would like them to do, making the site both easier for users to use and more effective as far as our business goals are concerned.

In a recent user testing session, 5 users where presented with two possible ways to complete a task (one selecting an instrument first and then a product type and one selecting the product type first and then the instrument).

In each of the 5 tests, the users paused at the relevant page and expressed confusion as to which way to proceed. Although all the users managed to complete the task, they were all confused and paused for a period of time at the relevant page.

Also, less than half the test candidates selected the instrument first, preventing us from either targeting our assistance or up-selling additional products and services, a key business rule.

In the second round of user testing, the users were presented with only one option, to select the instrument first. They all completed their tasks with ease and there were no pauses or expressions of confusion.