Recent work with a Fortune 100 high-tech firm proves the benefits of a top task management approach. The company team adopted strategies to focus on their customers’ top tasks, measure top task performance, understand the ‘why’ behind customer behaviour, and engage in a process of continuous improvement.
Start with a focus on your top tasks
First we conducted a Customer Carewords® top task identification project. People visiting the website were presented with a randomized list of carefully prepared, potential website tasks and asked to vote for the tasks most important to them. As in all our task identification studies, we found what we call a “long neck” – a small number of tasks that account for a disproportionately large percentage of the vote. Just 3 tasks accounted for 24% of the vote for top tasks.
Knowing the top tasks of their customers allowed them to really focus limited resources on what is most important to their customers. They started emphasizing and refining top task links and minimizing or eliminating tiny task links.
The team changed from managing content to managing task performance. They started measuring actual task performance – not page visits, bounce rates and other common web metrics.
Do live testing to measure top task performance
We conducted 4 rounds of testing, analysis, and refinement over an intense 4 week period. During each iteration, we tested the same top tasks with new groups of 8 to 10 people. People were asked to ‘think aloud’ so we could gain insight as to what they found confusing or unexpected. Anything that negatively affected performance for more than half the people was examined to see what could be improved. Changes included things like eliminating extra steps, improving link labels, repositioning content, and eliminating redundancies.
In the last 3 rounds of testing the success rates climbed from 69% to 88% and the disaster rates dropped to below 4%.
Improved task experiences delight customers
Customers have been delighted with the improvements. Several test participants have commented that the new mega menu provides them direct access to over 80% of their top tasks. This mega menu is omnipresent throughout the website. Moreover, people who used the new product selector mechanism experienced none of the difficulties associated with the previous, hierarchical mechanism. They got to the product family of interest in 2 clicks.
Ongoing testing continues to show the benefits of managing customers’ time on their website. Time is the currency of the web and saving customers time is reaping significant benefits, for the task teams as well as for the customers.
Learn more about how a top task management approach, paired with a rapid process for customer experience evaluation and refinement, can be applied in your context in a free half-hour consultation.