Chris Owen

Written by Chris Owen

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UX video teardown for Trustedhousitters

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Welcome to the third in our series of UX video teardowns. For this session we'll be focusing on Trustedhousesitters.com, a company that matches pet owners with pet/housesitters i.e. a person who will look after both house and pet whilst the owner is away.

This is a simple solution for pet owners who don't like the thought of leaving their pet in a kennels or cattery whilst they're on holiday. It's a way of alleviating the stress associated with leaving a loved one while you go off on holiday and enjoy yourself.

Having pets can put a real spanner in the works when it comes to leaving a house overnight what with feeding, toilet breaks and the constant pining – and that's just from the owners. Ha ha, sorry.

It's fairly obvious who the target audience for this site will be which is why our 20min UX video teardown will, hopefully, also resonate with its own audience as it's not like we're trying to pick apart a website aimed at rocket scientists. Although, rocket scientists are allowed pets too, I'm sure.

All feedback is welcome so grab yourself a bowl of water and some num num snacks and watch our Trustedhousesitters UX video teardown before checking out our top five suggested changes and fixes, as featured below.

WHAT WE INITIALLY FOUND OUT

What we found out first in the UX video teardown was that the design of the Trusterhousitters site works really well and looks pretty slick and stylish. The logo looks great as well as the colour scheme, in the main, however, the biggest plus was by far the social testimonials.

This sort of trust level from a social point of view allows for a certain element of sheep mentality as people tend to go with the rest of the flock and are far more likely to believe an honest and authentic appraisal as opposed to marketing flim flam.

I can really feel the community spirit in this one and this sort of social proof makes me want to become part of that crowd and get emotionally involved with the company. (We'd start with dinner first, obviously.)

THE FIRST FIVE THINGS I'D CHANGE

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Social visibility

Using Trustpilot is a great idea and one which I wholeheartedly endorse. However, the Trustpilot section on the Trustedhousesitters site is not as obvious as I'd like.

I feel that the use of dark grey below the video on the home page makes the information fade into the background rather than immediately leap into the foreground. You really need to make these sorts of testimonials stand out in terms of a first class UX.

The social examples could be higher up the page too to make even more of their good vibrations which is yet another way to catch the eye of potential customers via design psychology.

I'd have, starting from the top of the page, the company message followed by the Trustpilot reviews as per below.

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As we move down the home page we find another appearance by Trustpilot – good stuff, why not? - in this case I'm not sure the layout works as well as the carousel. This mid-section of social proof appears to hide the content and requires users to scroll to either side to find more testimonials.

This effect sticks of paid advertising for me, although it isn't, and I feel that it looks too clunky - what with the different type faces and style - in as much as it looks separate to the rest of the site: therefore a little bit false and perhaps not to be trusted.

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All the business and magazine logos in the 'As featured' graphic look very impressive, thanks, in no small part, to the big hitters that have featured Trustedhousesitter. So impressive in fact that I feel it would be much better represented above the fold, towards the top of the page, to really shout it out.

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The layout of the page

On page 'Feng Shui' is a thing, don't deny it. The psychology behind how a page is laid out relates to a user's experience and will, in turn, tempt them into getting in touch or purchasing simply through their primary perception.

Initially, I recommend the tagline or company/brand message and real life testimonials (including actual images of real customers looking happy) appearing alongside logos and social proof.

The problem to be resolved should appear next which, in the case of Trustedhousesitters, is something like: 'how can I find someone to look after my pets and house while I'm away?'

Further issues should then be expanded, such as: 'there's no way you can leave your house for over a week, ever again, even to go and visit Aunt Joyce in New Zealand.'

Next step should be to alleviate the issues with cold hard practical answers. In Trustedhousesitters' example they've displayed the benefits of their company without really highlighting the problems as you can see in the image above.

Addressing problems by way of showcasing social proof, client statements and endorsements (which Trustedhousesitters have heaps of) is an ideal scenario in this instance.

Following on from social proof, objections need to be focused on with, perhaps, frequently asked questions. For example: 'what's the cost of a housesitter?' 'What happens if my dog dies' etc. By answering any issues in advance users will feel much more comfortable without having their purchasing process interrupted as they have to go off and seek answers elsewhere.

The design of a page should keep a user's activity fluid and on-going by anticipating what they're going to want next and helping them cover all bases when it comes to questions, answers and positive benefits. These days users prefer to scroll down rather than click to another section so take this into consideration as you allow your customer to engage, scroll and convert.

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Individual aims per page

It's patently obvious that marketplace apps often have more than one type of user to consider however, if you're planning on focusing on two or more aims per page then you're not going to be heading in the right direction with regards to conversions.

In the example used within our Trustedhousesitter UX video teardown it's interesting to see how we need to create the perfect page when appealing to two parties i.e. house sitters and pet owners.

By trying to appeal to both on one page by giving them equal standing Trustedhousesitters have fallen into a classic trap. There's just no way that both groups will get a 100% positive UX as half of what they'll be faced with doesn't actually appeal to them and results in too much stuff to read.

Also, designers need to remember that not everyone that's going to be visiting their site is going to be computer savvy. Although it may appear easy for a new user to make their minds up as to whether they're a sitter or a pet owner, some people, when faced with decisions, especially online, can just bale at the first sign of a trouble.

As you're going to be incredibly close to your product or service, having worked with it from idea to marketplace, you're going to be really familiar with all the ins and outs but just remember that someone visiting your site for the first time might not have a clue about who you are, what you offer and what the benefits are for them. You need to get over your bias and empathise with users in a way that might often feel like you're starting from scratch, all over again.

In the case of Trustedhousesitters I'd definitely recommend getting rid of the dual page and having two pages instead, one for 'find a sitter' and one for 'find a house to sit for'. The home page, in turn, would focus mainly on one of these pages – the more important one to the product owner – which in turn would point users in the right direction straight from the start.

Just make the process as straightforward and comfortable as possible without doubling up on the aim of each individual page. Simplicity is always the most important route to a successful outcome, especially where UX is concerned.

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Also, while we're highlighting the importance of one goal per page – it's also ideal to have just one aim for every call to action. On the Trustedhousesitter site underneath the 'Join Now' CTA there's two buttons to choose from. Why two? All you want to do is sign up so just have one button. Stick the gift voucher call to action on another page too. Don't give your customers too much to think about. Keep it simple. Treat them like your grandma. She likes tinned spam, give her tinned spam. Not a choice between tinned spam and tinned ham. Way too confusing.

Testing makes for a more harmonious workplace

As stated in the UX video teardown, I'd recommend attaching an A/B testing schedule if your website is gaining more than 25,000 visits on a month by month basis. Understanding the importance of how and why statistics change is part and parcel of a website owner's work and communicating the changes, for good or for bad, to the rest of the team is an essential area of development that evolves over time through running tests.

Explaining why changes are needed and how they are to be implemented allows every member of the team to build the same picture and create a more inclusive approach to working as a company.

Ensuring there aren't any gaps within a team member's knowledge of your product or service lets them learn more about the company as a whole as well as working on solutions that will be recognisable to everyone thanks to what's been learned through the testing process.

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'Speak' in the second person

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It's always much more inclusive and appealing to write in the second person when creating content for a sales website. Use the 'you' and 'your' rather than 'me' and 'my' or 'we' and 'ours' as it helps to provide users with a bigger buy in to the company so they can feel part of what you're trying to achieve as they become an important part of the brand message.

Check out the H2 body copy above for a good example and make sure you apply the second person speech throughout your site not only on the home page.

TOP FIVE TAKEAWAYS

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Number one: drop the UPPERCASE & keep fonts uniform

It's actually much more difficult to read anything in UPPERCASE so I'd suggest Trustedhousesitters uses lowercase throughout to make their copy easier on the eye and less hard work for customers.

They also have a whole load of different sized and styled fonts. This, I feel, looks cluttered and a bit of a mess and can be consolidated into one or maybe two font styles and sizes to make it look far neater which will, in turn, produce a much more satisfying UX.

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Number two: simplify the colour scheme

Be careful which colours you choose to represent your brand, company and products. Trustedhousesitters have gone pastel crazy on their home page. All of those pinks, greens and blues combined with a different colour green within the logo feels slightly confused, a little bit overdone.

I'd recommend losing the blue for starters and using the same green that's in the logo, as a prominent colour throughout the rest of the website. Choosing the correct colour palette shouldn't be done on a whim. Go bold and be strong to add confidence in the 'Members say...' section rather than weak and muted.

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Number three: sort the tag line out

I recommend using this equation to improve the current tag line: highlight benefits + time duration + answer any issues/ objections. This road to tag line glory is tried and tested as it results in giving a user exactly what they want to learn at just one glance. I'd also recommend Trustedhousitters undertake an A/B testing programme to see which tag line customers respond to the best.

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Number four: clear content from carousels

Placing content within carousels is not really good practice. In the example of Trustedhousesitters, as shown in the UX Video teardown, it regards their destinations. Tucking content away from visitors to your site requires them to do yet another action to find out what you have to say. Why bother? I'd suggest Trustedhousesitters had a block of destinations, around about 3 per block, which would alleviate extra work for guests to their site. P.s. This is definitely where user testing would come in.

Number five: place a call to action button at the foot of the page

It's not how you start, it's how you finish! I'd highly recommend a CTA for Trustedhousesitters in the footer because if a user has gone to all the effort of getting that far then reward them for their emotional, physical and mental commitment by giving them something that allows them to connect even further. Mention the main value proposition at the same time as the CTA in the footer and you're on a one way ride to Conversionville.

SO TO SUM THINGS UP...

The UX video teardown for Trustedhousesitters shows us that just a few tweaks can make all the difference to a customer's experience. Although social testimonials are their strongest asset and the emotional connection that comes from being part of a larger community, there's still plenty of work to be done in other areas. UX improvements are like painting the Fourth Bridge. Let them become a constant within your company's online mission to developing relationships with customers, generating trust and creating a successful experience for both parties. Woof Woof!