Companies love to solicit feedback. Whether it’s used to simply check a box to comply with their Net Promoter Score audit, or it’s actually used to improve the customer experience depends on the company’s culture. Feedback can be brutal, but it’s one of the few things that lead to change. Websites really are the storefront of your company because they are the most visible manifestation of your existence. Your website should be perfect, and while most aren’t, they could be!
The developer community is a tough crowd. When it comes to website interaction, they know what they want, and how they want it. They don’t suffer fools, because they are skeptical in nature, well-educated, and technical. They have the license to criticize, because they know how websites work, and how they could make them work better. For any website, you have to design it with the audience in mind. Not how you like it, but how they see it and interact with it. The easiest way to developer-proof your website? Create a straw-man and run it past some of your developer friends or customers. Marketers know that while it’s hard to create, it’s easy to criticize, (in a good sense), because you want critical feedback.
Sources of Frustration
Table 1 below shows the results from a relevant CodeProject Survey, titled: “What are the worst sins in a website aimed at selling things to developers?” The “sins” basically fall into three categories: structural (such as security holes and coding errors); process (such as requiring the use of social media platforms or blocking certain browser usage) and semantic (hip terms, overly clever language, and technical incorrectness).
Table 1. CodeProject survey results
Respondents were allowed to choose more than one answer; totals may not add up to 100%
|Using technical terms and getting them wrong||359 ||56.54
|Trying to be developer hip||214|
|Obvious coding errors in the page (page is broken, errors in the console etc)||355||55.91
|Obvious security holes, especially on purchase pages||316||49.76
|Beginner errors in form submission workflows (no client-side validation, getting confused by trailing spaces etc)||266||41.89
|Trying to impress audience with their "cleverness"||223||35.12
|Insisting that customers communicate through social media (eg Facebook Messenger, Twitter etc)||418||65.83
|Trying to block certain actions, but leaving them wide open to anyone who uses the browser Developer Tools||165||25.98
While the data in this survey is interesting, the free-form comments are where the richest content is found. These comments are the nuggets that an enterprising marketer can use to differentiate their website from competitors, or at least earn the respect of a skeptical developer. Here are some of the comments:
- “…sites that hide the delivery costs page, or “calculate it at checkout” so you can’t tell how much an order is going to cost until right at the end and can’t compare total cost with other sites.”
- “ I go to a website and see all this hype and I end up closing the browser tab with absolutely no idea what the thing actually is, what it does, and why I would need it. I wish these websites would start with: “This package addresses this problem in this way.”
- “Websites that “look” nice, but are hard to use.”
- “If there are pop-up ads or other unrelated ads, I will assume that they are not so much trying to sell me developer tools as make money just from my visit, what I click on, or what info they can pull from my computer. I am also put off by these websites that insist that for me to use them I have to agree to let them install cookies on my PC.”
- “Having to create an “account” just to see the product spec. I also love to test this process by creating an account, logging out, pretending I’ve forgotten the password – just to see if they send me my original password back in plain. Happens far too often”
- “Companies selling web-based services, frameworks, or even web development and their website is running on… WordPress.”
Take the time to objectively assess your website and make it developer-friendly. The best way is to ask a developer to take a look and render an opinion with suggestions for improvement. You will find that most issues require simple fixes within the structure, process, and/or semantic categories. Be bold — and resolve to be different by offering your developer community an excellent web experience. And if you need help or advice, contact DeveloperMedia. They understand marketing, advertising, and the requirements of the developer community. And don’t forget that websites have to be maintained. Keep your content fresh, while maintaining your standards for structure, process, and semantics. Your diligence will be rewarded by your developer audience!
Net Promoter Score – Qualtrics
Landing Page Experience – DeveloperMedia