“It isn’t the consumers’ job to know what they want.”

Sara Steever
October 2, 2013

Steve Jobs’ famous quote is at the heart of a series of articles by Douglas Van Praet on tapping into the subconscious to truly understand the impact of branding. Van Praet makes many points in his articles, but one point in particular supports a critical step in web development.

Focus groups and surveys look for answers from the conscious mind. “Do you like this website?” or “Do you trust this website with your credit card information?” Accurate answers to questions like that are incredibly helpful in designing a great user experience – if they are reliable answers. But what I’ve learned through countless sessions of usability testing is that what people say is often different from what they actually do.

Usability testing helps build websites that tap into the real reasons people behave the way they do. These are sites that work so quickly and seamlessly that they connect subconsciously – where a brand lives.

Usability is just one part of building a successful website, and if the goal of your site is to drive conversions, then you’ll need to also be prepared for testing and refining the site over time. You can read my review of Conversion Optimization–The Art and Science of Converting Prospects to Customers by Khalid Saleh & Ayat Shukairyo for a thorough methodology for building websites that convert. Because, in reality, it is our job to know what a consumer wants.

Read more on website conversion optimization.