If you’re the type of person (like me) who has lots of ideas and wants to create novel things, it’s easy to start “novelizing” everything.
For example, I created the new experience The Eureka Room. It’s an experience that is unlike anything else people have done (as far as I know).
It’s tempting have the website for The Eureka Room reflect The Eureka Room’s personality. To make the website navigation clever and surprising and the ticketing system a unique experience.
In my mind I’m giving them the full end-to-end Eureka Room experience and the throughline is consistent. Awesome.
But in the mind of someone who lands on the website it is just totally confusing. Put yourself in their shoes: You clicked on a google ad that said “cool unique Austin experience” and it directed you The Eureka Room’s site.
You land on the site to get more information but instead you are given a challenge. You don’t want a challenge. You don’t want cleverness. You want information. You have a problem that needs solved You want to know “What is this thing The Eureka Room?” and all I did was give you an additional problem to solve, “What the hell is up with this confusing website?”
With this strategy, I would soon see that I’m spending a lot on ads to drive traffic to the website. But the booking rate would be miserably low. When I see these terrible conversion rates, there’s too many false conclusions I could draw. Maybe they don’t like my offer. Maybe the price is too high. Maybe the website is confusing. Maybe the booking process is confusing. Who knows.
For those of us “idea people”, the temptation to innovate everywhere is strong. But innovative isn’t the right word here. We’re actually being creative. Or maybe expressive. But not innovative.
If we were being innovative we would act more like scientists.
When you innovate in science, you change one thing at a time and test it. You change one ingredient, one part, one method – just one thing. Then you see what the result is and adjust just one thing for the next test. Chemists don’t throw every chemical they can find into a beaker and hope something good happens. It’s possible something good might happen, but it’s highly improbable.
Two related notes…
If you find yourself being creative in all areas, turn back to your mission statement for direction. The mission helps keep you on the path by showing you which actions to take and all the many many actions to not take. (Assuming you have a well written mission. More on developing a great mission here.) The mission of The Eureka Room is to create charming absurd experiences, not novel websites. Testing find this out through testing one innovation at a time.
If someone is on a website looking for information, that is a transactional moment – not one a moment to turn into an absurd experience. It should be mostly prosaic and over quickly. You must understand what type of experience they are seeking at each touchpoint. (I recommend the book Designing Experiences to understand the different types of touchpoints.)