Redesign of the website hosting provider: errors and solutions
A distinctive feature of the development of startups is a constant lack of resources, which often forces project teams to resort to temporary solutions - all for the sake of rapid development and testing of hypotheses in order to filter out all that is superfluous and focus on key business indicators. In addition, during the testing of the mentioned hypotheses, the business concept itself often changes.
There is nothing more permanent than temporary, however, in order to successfully reach a new level, sooner or later the company will have to replace “bikes” with quality solutions.
Design and creation of product interfaces are one of the areas in which young projects are sometimes forced to compromise. And to refuse them in the future is not easy. Today we will talk about how we created the website of the project of the hosting provider 1cloud and how, soon after launch, we worked on its redesign.
The initial concept of the project was formulated as a “cloud solutions store” - we wanted to create a “marketplace”, that is, a platform on which anyone could upload their product and sell it. However, after the analysis and the first tests, it became clear that it is better to move towards the creation of an IaaS & PaaS provider.
At the same time, a certain amount of time has already been spent on testing the first hypothesis, so at the second stage I wanted to move faster. Unfortunately, this was not possible to achieve - our project is a startup that does not have significant financial resources for the maintenance of a UX specialist in the state. Therefore, it was decided to resort to the services of external contractors - a separate material can be written on the topic of interaction with them.
Below are the page layouts that we refused to implement for various reasons (by clicking on the image, the images open in full size): Option in a different color scheme: In the end, a new UI specialist was brought in. We managed to start the project with him, but there were still certain errors in the interface (especially in navigation). Inner panel: A lot of time was spent on creating the interface, and the final result was still imperfect, plus questions remained about the consistency of the new business model. It was necessary to proceed to testing it, but not the most elaborate interface of the site and users' personal account could affect the results.
In order to compensate for the time spent, we decided to resort to an already working solution, which proved its viability, and took as a basis the site of the popular Western IT company DigitalOcean .
Waiver of workarounds
The new business model has proved its worth (despite a certain negative attitude to the borrowing of the design by some users of the Habr, expressed in the comments on one of our materials ). Therefore, the next step was the development of a new interface that would be completely unique.
Among other things, the mentioned negative in relation to creating an interface similar to the site of a Western project, it was necessary to minimize, and therefore make the new design as great as possible on DigitalOcean.
Work on the design was carried out according to the classical scheme - a meeting with the contractor to discuss the concept and receive the first sketches on paper. Further, mocapas were created in Balsamiq - already at this stage some ideas had to be abandoned, and something had to be finalized.
Subsequently, layouts were created in PSD with the actual interface screens. From the very beginning, the concept of minimalism was chosen, so there weren’t a lot of processing for design.
What was done
Excellent material was previously published on Habré with an analysis of the main errors in the interfaces and business processes of websites of hosting providers. We have worked to avoid these problems.
Problem: Finding information about tariffs.
As stated in the cited material, most often users get to the main page of the site, which they may not need at all - people want to know the cost of the service and immediately get information about tariffs. Users are too lazy to click for a long time in search of the necessary information, so they leave the site without solving their problem.
Solution: Removing the price calculator to the main page.
A price calculator has been added to the main page with which customers can select pre-configured tariff plans.(Low, Medium, High), but also to form a “custom” tariff for your needs, indicating any possible combinations of CPU, Storage and RAM.
Problem: Too many tariff choices confuse users.
With the growth of business, the hosting provider often faces the need to introduce new tariffs that are aimed at customers with different needs and even located in different countries. At the same time, users do not always respond positively to a wide range of tariffs - if they differ only in not very significant nuances, then it will only become more difficult to make a choice.
Solution: Configuration of three “hard” tariffs and one “custom”
As noted above, we have configured three tariffs that are not subject to change and are quite seriously different - so it’s easier for the user to choose what suits him the most. There is also the opportunity to build your own tariff plan using a special simple configurator.
Problem: Nobody likes to register.
This is a common problem of the sites of many companies, and not just hosters. Getting to the site, the user wants to solve his problem as quickly as possible, and not fill out endless registration forms and deal with captcha. 54 out of 100 users will prefer to leave the site than register on it - a business will lose more than half of potential customers. This must not be allowed.
Solution: To register, just specify email
A scheme was implemented in which to order a virtual server, you only need to specify the desired operating system and leave an email address. To register on the site, just an email address is also enough, which simultaneously acts as a username when logging into the control panel.
Problem: Poor information in tariffs.
People who buy hosting, as a rule, are more or less versed in IT. At least they know whether they need a dedicated server or a virtual one, that is, they are not housewives and want to know what they are paying for, to the smallest detail.
Solution: Display all information in the configurator on the main page
The buyer of the virtual server needs to be informed about the type of virtualization, as well as talk about other important things, such as the type of disk, channel width and country of location. All such information is available on the home page of 1cloud. Online help is available for the main positions of the configurator.
Problem: It is unclear how to get support in an emergency
On the sites of many hosters it is not always possible to quickly find contact information, but almost everywhere users are annoyed by the pop-up windows of an online consultant (who is always offline when he is needed).
Solution: Introducing round-the-clock technical support
In addition to the standard option of sending a letter to the technical support mailing address, round-the-clock support has been introduced both for a local phone number in St. Petersburg (+7 (812) 313-88-33) and for a toll-free number throughout Russia (8 (800) 777 -18-23).
Problem: Doubts about the security of the transmitted data
Recently, a number of various leaks and security problems of entire protocols have created a negative information background around everything related to technology. One of the first things that consumers of IT services think about is whether they will be able to keep their data (including payment) safe. Some hosters do not use https - this may scare away some clients. Also, in no case can you use self-signed security certificates.
Solution: Using secure connections and a certificate issued by an authoritative registration center
Sites 1cloud.ru and panel.1cloud.ru use certificates SSL certificate issued by a certification center (Go Daddy Secure Certificate Authority-G2). At the moment, work is underway to connect the EV certificate.
Problem: Obsessive security.
Another side of attention to security is the fact that often it becomes too much, in the understanding of the user - that is, in the pursuit of data safety, using the service becomes inconvenient. For example, a common practice that many people don’t like is requiring a user's phone number (for example, to make a purchase).
Solution: The ability to order a server without SMS verification
We introduced a test period for using services in 1cloud during which the user's phone number is not requested. In the future, an option is possible in which the conditions of the test period will be extended after indicating the phone number.
Problem: Inconvenient payment methods.
In Russia, a large number of various payment services and electronic wallets, which are used by a significant part of the RuNet audience. Therefore, the lack of the ability to pay with your favorite electronic wallet on the site can scare the user away - the competition in the hosting market is great, and he will have someone to go to.
Solution: Adding most popular payment methods
For individuals, we have added the ability to pay with Visa, Master Card, and electronic services and from mobile accounts (QIWI, Webmoney, YandexMoney, MTS, Megafon, Money@mail.ru, Web-Wallet PSKB, EasyPay, LiqPay, Svyaznoy, Rapida, Euroset).
Legal entities can pay for services only with an account, but it can be generated directly in your account.
In addition to solving these problems, we worked on creating a more pleasant and convenient interface. As for navigation, before each section of the site looked like a separate resource, all the menus were heterogeneous - the current version of the 1cloud.ru interface is characterized by great uniformity.
In the future we plan to create a mobile version of the site, but here we are faced with the problem of maintaining the functionality of the administrative user interface - in the absence of a mouse and keyboard and smaller physical screen sizes, it will be more difficult to solve many tasks of managing services, and it will be necessary to minimize difficulties for users.
In addition, we plan to release several new services (for example, DNS-aaS and Load Balance-aaS), which will require the integration of management systems into the interface of your personal account.
After the release of the new site, very little time has passed, and we are still continuing tests and collecting data on whether the results have improved (increased time on the site, decreased bounce rate, etc.). However, the positive dynamics are noticeable now, although it is too early to draw final conclusions - it is quite possible that some additional improvements will be needed.
That's all for today. We will be happy to answer questions and hear feedback on the implementation of certain interface elements in the comments.