5 STEPS TO SUCCESS AND SCALABILITY WITH WEBSITE PERSONALIZATION

Personalization, when executed the right way, provides a highly relevant and meaningful experience not only to a general target audience, but to individual users.

To ensure success and scalability with website personalization, companies must take the time to identify how, and even how much, to personalize the user’s experience.


1. DETERMINE WHETHER YOUR USERS WOULD BENEFIT FROM A PERSONALIZED EXPERIENCE

It might seem obvious, but before anything else, determine if personalization is worth pursuing. Due to the effort and financial investment required to implement and maintain a personalization strategy successfully, it is important to identify whether your users will benefit from a personalized experience.

Because let’s face it—personalization for personalization’s sake is expensive.

Here are some scenarios when personalization could pay off:

  • Your website’s audience is comprised of multiple distinct personas that have different content needs
  • A user’s journey on your website has different stages
  • You have non-authenticated and authenticated users


2. TAKE THE TIME TO CREATE A PERSONALIZATION STRATEGY

Personalization is all about targeting your audience—sometimes down to the specific user—so it’s important to understand who they are and how you should target them with personalized content. This is why having a personalization strategy is valuable; it takes your personas and outlines unique paths and content needs at various stages of the user’s journey. A personalization strategy serves as the blueprint on how to implement and execute personalized content throughout the website.


A personalization path outlined for one of Bluetooth’s personas.


3. DESIGN FOR PERSONALIZED CONTENT

Design your website in a way that creates opportunities for personalization and is flexible enough to adapt for varying content. Some content may change in length or size (e.g. copy, form fields, calls to action, etc.) or possibly not show at all. The good news is that with responsive design as the standard, designers are already familiar with designing in a modular and flexible format to accommodate different browser sizes and devices. This way you can focus less on designing pixel perfect pages and layouts, and instead on designing flexible systems.


Wireframes demonstrating how Bluetooth’s global CTAs change for a logged in user.




The default view of this home page component (i.e. which step is expanded initially) also changes based on the user.


4. BUILD ON A ROBUST TECHNOLOGY PLATFORM THAT ALLOWS FOR EASY SCALABILITY

During the build phase, keep flexibility, scalability, and tracking in mind. Setting up your framework correctly in the beginning will facilitate future tweaks and enhancements. The beauty of Web Content Management (WCM) platforms like Adobe and Sitecore lies in allowing marketers and content owners to easily make changes based on performance and analytics.

5. TAKE IT SLOW AND TEST CONTINUALLY TO AVOID OVER-PERSONALIZATION

When implementing personalization, make sure to start small and refer to the strategy to identify the best initial opportunities. Then allow enough time to gain valuable insights from data before making any significant changes or additions.

There’s an optimal balance to achieve; personalization done right will be perceived as subtle and helpful rather than pushy and assumptive. Devoting adequate time and resources will help ensure an improved user experience and return on investment.

About the Author: Rachel Brown - Sr. UX and Visual Designer, Sarie Drake - Sr. UX Architect

As a Senior UX & Visual Designer at R2i, Rachel does more than just make things look pretty. She’s a problem solver that questions everything, craves context, and sweats the details. Whether it’s figuring out the best user experience or designing an engaging website, she loves a challenge. You can often find her in her happy place – surrounded by whiteboards with a fresh dry erase marker in hand.

As Senior UX Architect, Sarie’s prowess lies in researching and understanding user needs in order to craft the strategy behind an optimal online experience. Her day-to-day can include personalization strategy, information architecture, focus groups, and usability testing—to name a few. Her talents unrelated to UX (but equally as profound) include decorating her house with the things you gave away and the uncanny ability to relate every situation to a Friends episode.

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