Guide your customers through your store as if it were their living room, not a maze!

If you manage to guide your customers through your online store in such a way that they don't have to think much, but can see at a glance what they need to do next, you've made it. You have a really good online store with excellent user guidance. Find out more in today's podcast with your conversion hacker, Jörg Dennis Krüger.


My name is Jörg Dennis Krüger and, as my guide at reception has just said:

Yes, I am the conversion hacker. 

And today's episode of the Conversion Hacking Podcast is actually about leadership. Namely user guidance. I say it all the time in everyday life, "The site doesn't have any user guidance", and then people always look at me stupidly and say: "Yes, look, there's a navigation bar!" And I say: "Yes, the navigation bar takes up, let's say, 2 percent of the total screen area on your screen". 

And then a navigation bar also has "About us" and "Information" and perhaps also "Sent" and so on, so that the part that is actually really relevant for the user shrinks to a minimal part. 

And if we then take a look at the mobile version, where the entire navigation is hidden behind a hamburger menu, then we can forget it right away. That's no good, because we really have to actively take the user by the hand. In other words, they need to be able to click on something relatively quickly. 

It's very simple. We have to show him something where he can immediately say "I want that", click on it and that's it. How do we do that? We don't put a big slider or teaser at the top. We show the categories or products with meaningful images that we also label properly, that have good contrast and where I don't have to scroll to get more information. The customer has to understand immediately what it's about and then click on it. 

That is user guidance. User guidance must be implicit. Explicit user guidance, where the user first has to read, so to speak, or where they perhaps have to go through a configurator somehow in order to be guided, is always second choice. 

User guidance really means taking the thinking out of the user's hands on every page and implicitly showing them quickly where to click and what is of interest to them. 

And, of course, this also means reducing the selection as much as possible and really only offering what is relevant. So that when the user comes to the site, he sees his six tiles and says: "I want those", and he has already made his decision. So they are on the categories and are not overwhelmed with 500 different filters, but perhaps with a few very specific filters that work well. 

When the customer clicks on any filter, he sees the products he wants and immediately sees the differences between the products and selects the respective product. On the product page he gets all the advantages. He should find a nice basket button that looks nice and is easy to find. He should also find some supporting elements underneath so that he doesn't have to scroll down to get more information about the store. 

Then off to the shopping cart, where of course there must also be something to take them to the shopping cart or checkout. It is not enough for the checkout sign or the shopping cart sign to have a small number; the user must be actively shown where to go to the checkout. 

We now have such a "slide in cart" in many stores. Shopify, Shopware and WooCommerce offer something like this as standard. Then he sees it and can click directly to the checkout, can buy, and that's it!

And everything that interferes with this process, everything that leads to the user having to think, that confuses him and he asks himself: "What do I have to do now?" "What does that mean?" "And here?" 

All of this is then no longer user guidance, and it causes users to abandon the site. Or that they simply don't find the right products and then search and don't buy and so on. Of course, a store must not be a labyrinth. A store simply has to be a clear route.

I'm currently writing a book about that, I just remembered. It should be finished soon. It's already finished in terms of content, but it's still being proofread and so on. I should ask, because that's exactly what I'm talking about in this book, that you shouldn't confuse your customers. 

Confusion and user guidance are both opposites. If someone is well guided, they are not confused. If someone is confused, they are not being guided well, and we find this everywhere in the store. That means you have to ask yourself on every page your users visit: "Do they understand this? Is it that clear?" "Do they know what to do here?" And the best thing to do is to ask someone. Show them the page for five seconds, then take it away and say: "So, what's this about? Where would you click?" And if the user then says: "Yes, what do I know, can I have another look?" Wrong! Bad! Redesign the page! Doesn't work. 

Because five seconds is quite a long time. Hardly anyone looks at a page for that long if they really want to click on something. And anyone who is still thinking after five seconds has not understood. And of course you can also "simulate usability tests" in order to find out information. But you can also achieve a lot with "best practices" by simply guiding users properly on every page of the store. 

It's the same in the check-out, of course. So I often see check-outs have only one page. They are so complex that they just confuse, whereas a good multi-page check-out can be simple. That means I see my page, the payment method, I agree to what I see there and I can move on to PayPal. 

And if I go further: shipping method, the customer simply chooses DHL, for example, and so on. And in the summary, the customer looks at it, understands what is meant and is taken further. Oh, that's also user guidance: "Buy now button" at the end. Or maybe not just that, but "Buy now and continue to PayPal", or "Continue to Klaner" etc. 

This also helps a lot to ensure that the user understands where they are going and that they are prepared and then actually pay. The customer must not be confused if the page does not confirm anything, but has to be loaded first, and so on. It is also important to note: PayPal sometimes takes a while to take the screen to the next page, and then buyers may also cancel after they have already clicked on "Buy now". 

Yes, that's why user guidance is so incredibly important. And there's this good old usability book "Dont make me think" by Steve Krug. It's actually not a particularly good book, but this headline, this title, the intuitive web "dont make me think", that's actually exactly what I mean. Although this book is now incredibly old (from 2006), the basic idea is still completely correct and important, that you really guide people through the site in such a way that nobody has to think. 

In this respect, get the book or listen to the 15-minute version on Blinkist, it's certainly not a bad idea. And then really take it all in, look at the whole store afterwards and optimize it accordingly. That's how it works. 

Yes, well, of course you can also talk to me. Make an appointment at, then we can talk about it and think about how we can implement it for your store, what the process can be like. Because you also have to implement something like this so that it really works, and design something that you don't put 1000 developer hours into and so on. There's a lot to consider. 

But again, "Don't make me think", if you look at my pages, you'll also see that it's all very clearly laid out. There is very little confusion. I always try to reflect on everything several times, how I take users by the hand, how I show specific offers, and I do a lot of testing. 

And so you always get the best results for your store. It ensures that users really walk through the store as if it wasn't a store at all, but their living room and they know where everything is, where they could walk through blindly. 

So much from me for today! Thank you so much for being there. Remember, five stars on Spotify, Apple, iTunes and whatever else is out there. Feel free to leave a comment at and follow me on Facebook and Instagram at Jörg Dennis Krüger. 

Yes, and see you next time, your Jörg Dennis Krüger!

Write a comment