When it comes to creating our website, we often first worry about content. What images do we need to put to make it look appealing, how big should the text be? Those are important but you should definitely also consider context – which is just as important, if not more so than the content. There are lots of cautionary tales from eCommerce where the website itself is beautifully optimized for mobile, but the checkout process isn’t. Given that many people now purchase online, you’ve just made potential customers much more likely to abandon their cart and head somewhere else.
So why is context important?
Context can make it easier for your users
Just like our eCommerce example, knowing the context helps you create experiences for your customers that are congruent with not just their device, but also where they might be coming from. For example, if you have an affiliate program, you can be sure that customers coming from partners are at least looking for information to a specific product, and thus be planning the user journey for it.
Being aware of the user’s context can build trust
Knowing which sites your user is coming from can also be sued to build trust. For example, if you know that a disproportionate are also avid readers of a certain review site, calling out a good review that particular site gave your product would be really helpful in creating trust.
Context lets you give customers the right information at the right time
Let’s go back to the affiliate program example. Customers coming from a partner are likely looking into purchasing your product, and not find out more about your company’s vision. Your landing page should thus reflect as much, with a reduced navigation set, leading them to the next step and edging them closer to purchase. Similarly, if you’re a restaurant, and someone is on your menu page, perhaps there should be easy options for them to order some food for delivery, or to reserve a table.
Hopefully, with these examples, you can see why context is so important when it comes to web design.