Frequently when a designer sites down to work on a web site design, they think they know all about web users and what they are looking for from a web site. Unfortunately, all too often designers do nothing to check those assumptions. If they did, they would most likely find out that they are off the mark with their conjecture.
Web site designs that are not rooted in a solid understanding of a brand’s users along with their needs are destined to under perform. If you don’t understand what a user wants or needs from a site you can’t possibly know what to offer or how to offer it.
It is important that before you begin designing that you not only understand the site’s users’ requirements but also develop a sound understanding of their thought process, purchase journey, constraints and the environment in which they view the web site. User experience designers rely on this information and by leveraging it are able to create web sites that have far superior results. In fact, IBM believes the benefit of user experience design can be up to 100 times what is invested in it.
Spend the time to develop an understanding about your users. After you have done that, create personas based on the information you have learned. Make sure you consider user demographics, wants and needs, and other relevant factors when creating your persona. You will find that personas are not etched in stone; they should evolve as you learn more about your users. From there you can create designs that satisfy the needs of your personas.
While working on your designs you want to make sure you don’t forget who the target audience is. Good design is a product of good research. While designing make sure you consider user interactions; think about the functionality of the website and design a site that will help users complete their intended tasks smoothly and efficiently. You need a good understanding of what your base is looking for and from there; you should help them to find it easily.
The quality of a web site’s design relates directly to conversion rates. Things like complicated navigation, slow load times, and hard-to-read type turn users away. Seek instead for your design to focus on clarity and simplicity. Clear, intuitive designs make conversions much more likely. Your site should feature simple, logical and intuitive controls
Another factor that is important to good design is having your information prioritized in a hierarchy that makes sense to your users. Graphics can be used to help define this hierarchy and set a clear path for site visitors to follow. Visually appeal is important as well. You will want your home page and every page on your website to be attractive. Your website is the public face of your brand.
Pic: Tibor Kovacs (Flikr) http://bit.ly/2cG6pe7