When it comes to credit union website design, stop counting clicks

first_imgThe Rule of Three applies to a lot of things: comedy, composition, even computer programming. But there’s one thing to which the rule of three no longer applies — clicks.It happens all the time. You’re reviewing the prototype of your new credit union website design and everything looks good until it hits you. “It’ll take four clicks for a visitor to find the best checking account for her,” you’re thinking. “She should be able to get there in three!”The three-click rule. Its spectre has been looming over everyone from marketing managers to CEOs for nearly three decades, but this stifling statute probably should have died with dial up.If you’re trapped under the assumption that your credit union website design must follow to the three-click rule, you’re not alone. At BloomCU, we frequently talk with credit union marketers who hold fast to the dogmatic belief that it should never take more than three clicks to arrive at any page of a credit union website. And we get it. I mean, if you read something about the internet on the internet, it must be true 😉After careful consideration of the data, we’ve finally uncovered the truth: it’s not the number of clicks that matters. It’s how you use them.What is the Three-Click Rule?Fewer clicks equals happier users. At least, that’s the conventional wisdom. Since the dawn of the internet, web designers have taken this rule for granted, contorting their wireframes and user journeys in a Herculean effort to keep their conversion funnel — the path a user takes to go from potential customer to happy client — limited to no more than three clicks. Rules like these can be reassuring. Believing that three clicks from homepage to home base makes for a simple and effective website takes a lot of the guesswork out of the website wireframing process, which takes a lot of work to do well. The only problem is that the whole premise — that users get angry if it takes more than three clicks to get to their online destinations — is just a guess, and the data doesn’t back it up.Where Does the Three-Click Rule Come From?Nobody really knows.We have some guesses as to where it started, but the origins of the three-click rule are murky at best. In his book “Taking Your Talent to the Web,” Jeffrey Zeldman maintains the rule is intuitive, logical, and “based on the way people use the Web.” The three-click rule became the de facto solution to a perceived problem and, until recently, it went untested.It’s certainly possible that some website visitors might be operating on a three-click attention span. And if they’ve heard about the three-click rule, you can’t really blame them. Luckily, studies show that when every action they take gets them closer to their intended destination, they’re too focused on their user journey to count their clicks. And you should be, too. Here’s why.The Three-Click Rule is a MythIf you’re crafting your credit union website design to get users to open an account in three clicks or less, there’s only one way to do that: a giant homepage navigation. The three-click rule forces you to cram as much information as possible on your homepage — every service, every call to action, every form field — and the result is choice overload. You’ve given your visitors too many choices, and too many choices make decision-making more difficult.Not only does the three-click rule force you to make cumbersome design choices, but experts have discovered that those choices aren’t worth it because the rule they’re based on is a fallacy. A recent e-commerce study tested the behavior of 44 people tasked with completing various online assignments. The results showed that users were no more likely to quit their task after three clicks than they were to quit after 12 clicks, or even 25. And the people who completed their tasks in fewer clicks were no more satisfied than those who took a little longer to navigate through the website.That isn’t to say everyone was satisfied. People often complain about not being able to find what they’re looking for online. But that has nothing to do with the quantity of clicks, it has to do with the quality of results after clicks.So if We’re Not Tracking Clicks, What Are We Tracking?Rules are nice. They provide a sense of confidence that if we follow them, success will be right around the corner. So if you have to follow a rule, make it the one-click rule. In his book “Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability,” Steve Krug recommends increasing usability by keeping things simple. Users don’t mind clicking, he says, as long as each click is a clear choice that gets them closer to their goal. Let’s say your visitor wants to buy a used car. She can click the “loans” tab on your homepage, then clearly see the auto loans option on the next screen. She now has all the info she needs about loans, and if she’s ready to apply, that’s the third click. But wait! A lightbox pops up asking whether she’s looking for a new or used vehicle; that’s another click. Four worthwhile clicks later, your visitor is clicking through a membership eligibility questionnaire — at least four more clicks — but each one brings her closer to that auto loan.So the one-click rule doesn’t mean one click terminates the conversion funnel. It simply means that instead of counting clicks, make every single click count. With BloomCU’s personalization software, it’s easier than ever to do just that.“I don’t know,” you may be thinking. “The three-click rule has been around for a while, and I’ve never even heard of personalization. Who even uses it?”Everyone.The truth is, personalization is so simple and intuitive, you’ve seen it without even noticing it. Take Netflix, for example. Because you watched “House of Cards,” they think you want to watch “The Crown,” too. And they’re absolutely right. It’s not magic, it’s just personalization at work.Your members want so much more than the minimum clicks. With Persona, BloomCU’s personalization software created specifically for credit unions, you can find out exactly what your users care about. With dynamic personalization built into your credit union website design, you can track visitors’ behaviors, record data, and adapt your content so every single click counts.Information architect Shari Thurow recommends taking your focus off the clicks and putting it on your visitors.“It all begins with your users. Understand and accommodate their mental models. Understand their tasks and how they go about completing them. Use the users’ language. Understand their context. Then? You might have a website that is worth its weight in gold.”Your credit union website visitors aren’t blank slates with tiny attention spans. They’re a diverse population of people with particular needs — needs that you can track, assess, and fulfill. Personalizaton makes it possible to lay the groundwork for long-term relationships with current clients and potential customers so they keep coming back. 43SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Derik Krauss Derik is a cofounder of BloomCU, an award-winning website design agency for credit unions. His agency’s design work has received recognition from CUNA (Diamond Award), TheFinancialBrand.com, and others. He … Web: bloomCU.com Detailslast_img read more