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ZOZI Advance is the fastest growing web-based reservation, payment, and customer management platform used by thousands of activity, tour, and event merchants.

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Sabah Karimi

As a tour and activity operator, your booking website may be the very first thing customers see, so it's important to make a great first impression. Johnnie Manzari, one of Apple's early lead designers, shares some simple tips on how to turn website visitors into customers.

Here are three key takeaways from our recent webinar conversation with Johnnie Manzari:

1. Put yourself in the customer's shoes

Consider what the customer's motives are for coming to the website and how they are getting there—are they coming through a mobile device or on a desktop computer? These are important considerations because the user experience can be completely different across different devices. When you're designing for both desktop and mobile experiences, you may need to use different fonts, graphics, and layouts to optimize the user experience.

Manzari says to step back and test the site on different devices to ensure everything goes smoothly. "Putting yourself in the customer's shoes" can help determine whether the customer will be enjoying a smooth and seamless process.

As a tour or activity operator, this can also help determine what the typical user experience is like for your customers, and make it easier to identify how they behave. It may be useful to simply ask customers how they're booking their trips and how their experience with the process has been. Are they using a smartphone, or booking from a desktop computer at home or in the office? Determining how these customers are making the decision to book can help you create the best possible user experience.

2. Use mobile technology to figure out what's most important

Prioritizing the key components of the mobile experience is also important when designing the site. Manzari suggests to "think about it on a small screen." It can be tricky to format the layout and make sure important features are more prominent than less-important ones. Working on the small screen can help you eliminate certain types of content, layer the information, and pave the way for a better user experience. This type of constraint can actually make it easier to prioritize what information and features need to appear as soon as the user logs on to your mobile site.

A good user experience is about giving the customer what they want, and figuring out what they're most responsive to. Some customers may be more responsive to a layout that includes lots of photos, but other budget-conscious customers may be more interested in seeing a pricing breakdown within a few screen taps.

3. Invest and iterate

It's important to remember that great design is never done. If we approach design as something that's a living thing which grows and transforms over time, it makes the design process much easier. Manzari recommends treating the project as if it's always evolving, and can be improved and modified at any point. If the site needs to be updated often, that can be an opportunity to try new things.

For a tour or an activity booking site, this could involve updating the site regularly with fresh content, such as activity descriptions, news, and current photographs. It could also involve changing the layout to accommodate different types of content, like videos and podcasts that provide details about your tours and activities.

Audience Q+A

Q: What are some good design resources out there for business owners to reference for best practices?

A: For tactical changes, such as how to set up the pages of the site, how to manage call to action buttons, and other key layout features, Manzari recommends "Don't Make Me Think," by Steve Krug. And "Creative Confidence," by David and Tom Kelly, covers creativity and problem-solving.

Those interested in design may gain valuable insights and ideas from The Design Trilogy, by Gary Hustwit. These movies cover different types of design: urban planning, typography, and product design. Manzari recommends watching them to help spark new ideas.

Q: What's the best way for business owners to tell their story through an About page?

A: Manzari recommends "being authentic" and focusing on authenticity throughout the site. He says to refrain from using content that doesn't authentically represent the business or company because it's important to express the personality and voice of the service. Your customers will appreciate it!

Q: If there's one thing I can do today in less than 30 minutes to boost online checkouts, what should I do?

A: Manzari recommends having a friend load up your site on a mobile browser and see how they're navigating the site. You'll be able to get unique insights on a user experience from a device that you may not have or may have overlooked.

See the full webinar on increasing website conversions: