After years of evolution it turns out that people like people! We need human interaction to survive and thrive and so even the crankiest of people will try to find some sort of human interaction in everything that they do.
User experience designers have come to realise that being human is something that can be the pivotal element that makes your website more likely to be used.
What do we mean by human?
There are certain expectations when dealing with real people when running a business, for example being polite, showing people products, eye contact, showing a genuine interest in your day etc. The language that you use is welcoming, informative and two-way.
Computer systems lack this - they want rules without any of the fluff. There's an input, a calculation and an output only. So when the first website developers began to build websites, they built them for a computer to read, not a human.
Humans, being the fantastic creatures that they are, managed to change their expectations and behaviour and we were trained to use computers in the way that computers wanted to be used.
This learnt behaviour was widely accepted until marketers started to notice that the more human-like they became, the more interaction occurred. For example, buttons using terms like 'Click here for more' get fewer clicks than websites using 'Tell me more'. It turned out that we only accept computer language when we have to, and prefer to use websites that are more friendly and approachable.
Some top tips for how and when to be more human
Work out your customers EMOTIONS
Customers tend to get spoken about like they're a complete different species and we forget that they're a real person with other things going on in their lives whilst they're interacting with you. Most of the time you can work out what might be troubling them based on what your business does, for example
If you're a plumber - are people struggling with a leak? In that case you need to be talking to them in a way that's direct and proactive, e.g "Experiencing a leak - call us immediately and we will be with you straight away to get it sorted".
If you're an events company play on their excitement more, "We're only days away from this amazing event, tell your friends and one of you could get a free bottle of bubbly!"
STEP 01 //
STEP 02 //
Write the content for your professional friends
Imagine that a friend asked you what you did for a living and then asked you to help them with something professionally. The tone of voice and the language that you would use in that situation is generally how you should speak to your audience. Imagine each heading or link as a point in a professional yet informal conversation, say the answer out loud and that will be a much more human response. Unless your business is extremely formal in person, this natural way of speaking will work better for you
Be more helpful and give tips
Technology still scares a lot of people and we're generally too afraid to admit when we need help, instead we scurry away and use a different website! Try to look at everything through the eyes of someone who has no idea what you do and offer advice during any areas of potential confusion.
Provide example text in form fields to help people understand what you're expecting, e.g "your customer ID is 8 digits long and can be found on the back of your statement"
If you have a large service offering that you like to discuss with people it's good to invite them to ask a question instead of presuming that they'll go to the effort. E.g write a paragraph "Would you like help choosing the right option for you? Our friendly sales team are always happy to help, so write us a question here and we'll respond"
STEP 03 //
Give little DIGITAL gifts and notes of appreciation
Humans like to be praised and a website generally gives you no two-way communication, let alone positive encouragement, but it can do!
Add positive icons like ticks and happy faces when customers do something that you wanted them to do
When they're filling out long forms encourage them with statements such as, 'Almost there!"
When they complete a task tell them in an excited positive way just to make them feel a little better, e.g after making a payment try changing your default message to 'Wohoo! Your order has been received, and your new products are on their way!"
STEP 04 //
I need more help!
This is just a quick list to help you get started on making your website feel easier to engage with, and if you'd like to get some personal advice about your website, as always, please get in touch and we'll see what we can do to help!