The Leeds Outdoor Industry Club brought in Steven Hubert, Director of Digital Product at Alterra, to discuss how he approaches UX (user experience) with the Alterra website and the launch of the new Ikon pass. Alterra Mountain Company is a community of 12 iconic year-round destinations, including the largest heli-ski operation (click here to see an amazing heli-skiing video!). They own/operate a variety of recreation, hospitality, real estate development, food & beverage, and retail businesses.
Customer experience starts with the website/login page. Steven showed us some different examples of websites that were designed well compared to some that provided a less-than-enjoyable experience. He emphasized the importance of understanding how customers use your site. To do this, we looked at a heat map of the Alterra site. Heatmaps help visualize consumer behavior so that digital marketers can better understand what users do on your site by visually representing clicks and scrolling behaviors. These are some of the strongest indicators of visitor motivation/desires. Heatmaps provide a tool to test navigation decisions when making design/layout changes.
Steven also talked about the importance of user feedback, especially when it comes to fixing bugs. However, using data is more effective for decision making when working in the digital space. An average feedback ratio is 10 complaints: 1 compliment. While it’s important to listen to and address complaints, you shouldn’t base entire decisions on feedback that is, by nature, negatively skewed. One example that stuck with me was Steven’s quote “Know your Brads.” This refers to a particularly negative Twitter post (written by, you guessed it, “Brad”). Brad, however, only has 11 followers—so getting worked up over a negative post with such little impact just isn’t worth it. Do your research; know who your actual users and influencers are.
We obviously had a lot of questions about Alterra’s new Ikon pass, the “biggest new thing” for the company. There is a lot of chatter about the Epic vs. Ikon passes. Ultimately, the competition is good for the customer. Our discussion here centered around on personalization. There is an Ikon default page, but also pages that feature local mountains, such as Stratton, Blue, and Deer Valley. The goal is to make it feel like it’s yours.
- Always be learning!
- Combine data from many sources. Guest research, Hotjar, SurveyMonkey
- Steal what you like* (Not literally; ideas, not execution)
- Observe what works internally an externally and use that information to make changes for the better
- Don’t assume the customer is always right
- Test and Retest
- Think of the full experience
- Make it local
We are extremely grateful to Steven for sharing his time and knowledge!