- Start with your site traffic. A look at your site traffic is probably the best and fastest way to understand what your customers most value and what they can do without. Which of your content and features are getting the most attention? Which are being ignored? What are the top user paths? Which content is searched for the most? You’ll likely find that the 80/20 rule—where a small sub-section of your content sees the majority of activity—applies.
- Try mobile first. The emerging practice of “mobile-first,” whereby companies organize their business around mobile as their primary channel, is gaining in prominence (Google declared itself a mobile-first company in 2010). Whatever you think of mobile-first as a business practice, trying it out as an experiment can help you boil down your offerings to their most bare and useful essence.
- Get more objective. Designers, developers, and even executives can frequently get too close to their online initiatives; clinging tightly to pet features and the status quo. Install a decision-maker who knows your business and customers well, but who isn’t involved in the day-to-day of design and development. That person will have the objectivity to ask hard questions and, when necessary, slaughter the sacred cows.
- Test, test, and test. There’s nothing like the feedback of real users to break your internal logjams and provide clarity about what’s valuable to them. If budget or timeline are concerns, testing informally with friends and family can still produce valuable insights. And it’s better than no testing at all.
Scott McDonald: Four ways to a simpler you