Tracking Usability Problems in The Shopping Cart Process – A sample

Many small business owners have an e commerce store. There are 104.6 online shoppers stores on the web right now. We also know at the end of the day the ultimate goal is to make money. Now take having a good product, reasonable price and something useful – off the table as those are elements in the web space that we can’t control. Ultimately though, we still need to the users to choose something in our store and make it to the payment page.

What we can control is the technology. We can control how the technology interacts with the user and if are users are having problems with the technology but before we fix the problem, we need need to identify it.

To identify a problem in the check out progress of your online store is easy once you understand how to do it. And it’s cheap. All you need is a hour of your time. To explain to you how do that I will use a project I just finished as an example.

1. Identify the types of users of the website

In my case I identified three different types of users:

  • An absolutely new visitor who has never been to the site before
  • A returning visitor who has created an account and ordered before
  • A returning visitor who has an incomplete order

2. Identify user paths

This is the easiest of the steps. All you have to do is pretend you are an actual user. Delete all your cookies, log out and map out which page using a flow diagram. Set up a new account and go through the entire process. Do this for all the user types. Note: That you will have to note there maybe alternative paths for each user to take depending on where they click within the site but for now let’s keep it simple an assume there is only one path for each user to take.

3. Set up tunnels

For this experiment we will use GA and we’ll set up our tunnels by using the goals options in GA.

Now that you have worked out you user paths you set those out in GA and wait for the data to roll in. If you need help setting up your goals. I recommend this document:http://www.epikone.com/blog/2007/07/07/google-analytics-goals/

4. Review the data

In GA you can start to see where people going from each of your goal pages. If you identify a goal page that just isn’t passing the users to the next goal page – that would be the page to look at for problems. You then have to identify the problem on that page. We’ll discuss that in another post.

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