What Do YOU Think People Want From Your Site

Heather McConnell Forever the thinker, Jeremiah Owyang posted about the future of corporate websites. He cites Kristie Connor and Christopher Smith, who won a contest for their efforts to describe such. It’s a great question. I’d recommend reading Jeremiah’s post and commenting on that, but if you want to talk about it more, it’s a great question.

People Want Information

Not marketing. When I go to Staples.com, it’s because I need a store locator, or the price of a USB drive. I don’t mind being sold potential values and bargains around the information I seek, but I sure don’t want to hear marketing-ese about whatever you think the summer value plan is going to be.

People Want Simple

When I go to GM.com, they give me three easy choices right off the bat: corporate info, vehicle info, and “experience GM,” whatever that is. That’s not bad, because they slot me pretty quickly, but the risk there is that the site is static, and definitely “cold” in color and experience.

People Want Connection

Want the real secret magic? People want to feel “seen.” There are ways to do that. One is something we do all the time on blogs: we comment back. Another is through polite (!!!) use of cookies to remember that you like things set up a certain way when you are visiting.

Further, people would like to connect with the people at an organization, not just through forms and chutes, but in as many ways as they can conceive. Know who does this well? Sun? Go to http://blogs.sun.com, and you’ll see that there are blogs to suit most every taste. That means, there are conversations to be had at lots of levels. Cisco and some other great tech companies are doing it. Are retail or consumer companies ready for this?

What do You Think?

You travel the web all the time. You need information from various companies. You visit sites to buy things, to learn about things, to make decisions. What do you think people want from your site?

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  • http://web-strategist.com Jeremiah Owyang

    Chris, you’re spot on, people want recommendations from people they often know (our trust research indicates this) and they want product information. (I don’t have data yet to conclude this)

    Great response.

  • http://web-strategist.com Jeremiah Owyang

    Chris, you’re spot on, people want recommendations from people they often know (our trust research indicates this) and they want product information. (I don’t have data yet to conclude this)

    Great response.

  • http://www.mechanixloop.com Mathew Sweezey

    I think the key to understanding what we want on the net is a basic understanding of why we use the net. I think you need to find out why people would go to your site: fun, waste time, information, buy a product, discover new music, etc. Then give them what they want. I think your mention of GM is great they understand not every customer is coming to their site for the same reason and have broken it down for the three reasons they feel people are coming to their site. However I believe the current generations are very quick to use the internet and quick to jump on to a site and quick to jump off of a site if they don’t find what they want right away. So maybe poll your users, (Skype polled their users to see which skin they liked best for the phone) then just give them what they want.

  • http://www.mechanixloop.com Mathew Sweezey

    I think the key to understanding what we want on the net is a basic understanding of why we use the net. I think you need to find out why people would go to your site: fun, waste time, information, buy a product, discover new music, etc. Then give them what they want. I think your mention of GM is great they understand not every customer is coming to their site for the same reason and have broken it down for the three reasons they feel people are coming to their site. However I believe the current generations are very quick to use the internet and quick to jump on to a site and quick to jump off of a site if they don’t find what they want right away. So maybe poll your users, (Skype polled their users to see which skin they liked best for the phone) then just give them what they want.

  • http://www.99daz.com Darren Daz Cox

    My blog is a showcase for my artwork and graphic design so most people pop in for a quick peek at something visually tasty, sometimes they end up being friends on Flickr etc.

    I have also used my blog as an experiment in social networking especially with my local artists who may not know me yet, and it works, people now find my blog because they search for their name (and the images that google has indexed with their name) and my art and url also show up (because I have added their blog to my site or simply added their name to a list of my local artists.)

    People want to increase their visibility and when you have a ‘what’s in it for me’ factor (such as piggybacking your graphics with other people of a similar ilk) it’s a win/win thing!

  • http://www.99daz.com Darren Daz Cox

    My blog is a showcase for my artwork and graphic design so most people pop in for a quick peek at something visually tasty, sometimes they end up being friends on Flickr etc.

    I have also used my blog as an experiment in social networking especially with my local artists who may not know me yet, and it works, people now find my blog because they search for their name (and the images that google has indexed with their name) and my art and url also show up (because I have added their blog to my site or simply added their name to a list of my local artists.)

    People want to increase their visibility and when you have a ‘what’s in it for me’ factor (such as piggybacking your graphics with other people of a similar ilk) it’s a win/win thing!

  • http://www.ChristopherSPenn.com Christopher S. Penn

    I don’t guess. I ask them – using Avinash Kaushik’s 4Q tool.

    http://4q.iperceptions.com

  • http://www.ChristopherSPenn.com Christopher S. Penn

    I don’t guess. I ask them – using Avinash Kaushik’s 4Q tool.

    http://4q.iperceptions.com

  • http://www.tamalanwar.com/ Tamal Anwar

    Also people want satisfaction and reliability. I look for easy navigation and great looking design when I went to a new site.

    Just like I described in my blog post,

    Your website shows the status of your business
    - http://www.tamalanwar.com/2008/06/your-website-shows-status-of-your.html

  • http://www.tamalanwar.com/ Tamal Anwar

    Also people want satisfaction and reliability. I look for easy navigation and great looking design when I went to a new site.

    Just like I described in my blog post,

    Your website shows the status of your business
    - http://www.tamalanwar.com/2008/06/your-website-shows-status-of-your.html

  • http://davesteinsblog.wordpress.com Dave Stein (CEO of ES Research

    I don’t know whether you and your subscribers are aware of The Customer Respect Group (www.CustomerRespect.com).

    They measure the behavior of corporate websites in relation to the treatment of the online customer and their personal data. Privacy, Responsiveness, Attitude, Simplicity, Transparency and Business Principles are measured as part of the review process.

  • http://davesteinsblog.wordpress.com Dave Stein (CEO of ES Research Group, Inc.

    I don’t know whether you and your subscribers are aware of The Customer Respect Group (www.CustomerRespect.com).

    They measure the behavior of corporate websites in relation to the treatment of the online customer and their personal data. Privacy, Responsiveness, Attitude, Simplicity, Transparency and Business Principles are measured as part of the review process.

  • http://www.mzinga.com/jim/ Jim Storer

    Thanks for asking the question Chris.

    Whether it’s online or offline, customers (people) want to conduct a transaction and/or build a relationship with companies they do business with. Depending on the company (and their customers) the mix of these two differs. Some companies will never make the move from transaction to relationship because their customers don’t demand it. With that said, most companies can weave relationship elements into their strategy to begin building a conversation with customers.

    With our site (Mzinga), we have a mix of transaction and relationships (with more coming soon). Not surprising for a business social networking vendor, but we’re always looking for ways to create conversations with our prospects and customers.

    Jim | @jstorerj

  • http://www.mzinga.com/jim/ Jim Storer

    Thanks for asking the question Chris.

    Whether it’s online or offline, customers (people) want to conduct a transaction and/or build a relationship with companies they do business with. Depending on the company (and their customers) the mix of these two differs. Some companies will never make the move from transaction to relationship because their customers don’t demand it. With that said, most companies can weave relationship elements into their strategy to begin building a conversation with customers.

    With our site (Mzinga), we have a mix of transaction and relationships (with more coming soon). Not surprising for a business social networking vendor, but we’re always looking for ways to create conversations with our prospects and customers.

    Jim | @jstorerj

  • http://marshalsandler.com/ marshal sandler

    It is very obvious that Darren Daz Cox has the right approach by offering product then giving them a chance to communicate thru Flikr ! There is another Graphic artist SwissMiss who effectivly uses graphic art’s to communicate !
    The vehicle for communication should have design quality !

  • http://marshalsandler.com/ marshal sandler

    It is very obvious that Darren Daz Cox has the right approach by offering product then giving them a chance to communicate thru Flikr ! There is another Graphic artist SwissMiss who effectivly uses graphic art’s to communicate !
    The vehicle for communication should have design quality !

  • http://www.theretailtradecenter.com Lee Kent

    Hi chris; all i can say is ‘put it on my tab’. you teach my something everyday. i’m a bootstrapper and i love all your great insights.

    Lee @lhkent

  • http://www.theretailtradecenter.com Lee Kent

    Hi chris; all i can say is ‘put it on my tab’. you teach my something everyday. i’m a bootstrapper and i love all your great insights.

    Lee @lhkent

  • http://www.dtelepathy.com Lacy

    I definitely agree with you in stating that people want information from a site. I hate when I go to a site, just wanting to find a location and cannot find the store locater link anywhere.

  • http://www.dtelepathy.com Lacy

    I definitely agree with you in stating that people want information from a site. I hate when I go to a site, just wanting to find a location and cannot find the store locater link anywhere.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com chrisbrogan

    Lots of great comments here, guys. Thanks for that. I’m appreciating it a great deal.

    I think you’ve given me more to think about. Now just wondering if it’s a comment or a blog post of its own. : )

  • http://chrisbrogan.com chrisbrogan

    Lots of great comments here, guys. Thanks for that. I’m appreciating it a great deal.

    I think you’ve given me more to think about. Now just wondering if it’s a comment or a blog post of its own. : )

  • http://physiciansforhumanrights.org Gurukarm Khalsa

    Chris, thank you for putting this in terms that are simple, succinct, and straightforward. I think our non-profit site can >ahem< profit (sorry!) from your thinking, so thanks!

  • http://physiciansforhumanrights.org Gurukarm Khalsa

    Chris, thank you for putting this in terms that are simple, succinct, and straightforward. I think our non-profit site can >ahem< profit (sorry!) from your thinking, so thanks!

  • http://opinionatedmarketers.com John Whiteside

    I want to second the recommendation for 4Q. What you THINK people want on your site is interesting, but it may be quite different from what actual visitors want. Doing some voice of customer research – the kind of stuff you can’t get from Google Analytics & co. (as useful as they are) – is key.

  • http://opinionatedmarketers.com John Whiteside

    I want to second the recommendation for 4Q. What you THINK people want on your site is interesting, but it may be quite different from what actual visitors want. Doing some voice of customer research – the kind of stuff you can’t get from Google Analytics & co. (as useful as they are) – is key.

  • http://tinkutales.blogspot.com Amrita

    Chris,
    Your timing is perfect as I am just getting my gallery’s site up, and I also am revisiting what I focus on in the gallery blog. I think keeping it simple is one of most important yet underutilized criteria when designing a website. I love sites that make the most critical information REALLY easy to navigate. If my 70-year old dad can’t figure it out, the site is too complicated, in my opinion.
    Thanks again for all your great advice.
    –Amrita

  • http://tinkutales.blogspot.com Amrita

    Chris,
    Your timing is perfect as I am just getting my gallery’s site up, and I also am revisiting what I focus on in the gallery blog. I think keeping it simple is one of most important yet underutilized criteria when designing a website. I love sites that make the most critical information REALLY easy to navigate. If my 70-year old dad can’t figure it out, the site is too complicated, in my opinion.
    Thanks again for all your great advice.
    –Amrita

  • http://shannonehlers.com Shannon Ehlers

    Nice post, this prompted my own little analysis of the interplay between the intent of the site owner and the needs of the site user. This is timely, because I’m trying to figure this out for my own little blog.

    In general, I think, if your site performs a function that is vital, that is enough. It’s also nice to build a community around what you provide, but if one must be sacrificed to preserve the other, then certainly the vital function must be preserved. And if you’re just starting out, this must be the first order of business. The rest can come later.

  • http://shannonehlers.com Shannon Ehlers

    Nice post, this prompted my own little analysis of the interplay between the intent of the site owner and the needs of the site user. This is timely, because I’m trying to figure this out for my own little blog.

    In general, I think, if your site performs a function that is vital, that is enough. It’s also nice to build a community around what you provide, but if one must be sacrificed to preserve the other, then certainly the vital function must be preserved. And if you’re just starting out, this must be the first order of business. The rest can come later.

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  • http://www.classifiedflyerads.com Misty Lackie

    Great post! Your point about “People Want Simple” is very true. We have learned that many get overwhelmed or discouraged when you offer or attempt to present too much. Keep it simple and offer what works.

  • http://www.classifiedflyerads.com Misty Lackie

    Great post! Your point about “People Want Simple” is very true. We have learned that many get overwhelmed or discouraged when you offer or attempt to present too much. Keep it simple and offer what works.

  • http://www.oldschoolnewmedia.com/matt-leonard-old-school-new-media/ Matt Leonard

    I agree with what you’re saying. Interesting you point out the “polite” use of cookies. Arbitrary as that can be, it definitely can serve to befriend or alienate users. I can think of more than one site that chooses to remember my location for search without a clear way to change it.
    I’ve enjoyed reading your works.

  • http://www.oldschoolnewmedia.com/matt-leonard-old-school-new-media/ Matt Leonard

    I agree with what you’re saying. Interesting you point out the “polite” use of cookies. Arbitrary as that can be, it definitely can serve to befriend or alienate users. I can think of more than one site that chooses to remember my location for search without a clear way to change it.
    I’ve enjoyed reading your works.

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