Websites are just tools for people to use to complete a task. For example, people want to find out about a company so look at your business’s website. People want to keep in contact with friends so use Facebook. People want to store their photographs somewhere so use Flickr. Web designers and businesses should always consider the job the user want to complete before they start pushing pixels.
Carefully considering the job
There a couple fundamental questions that should be asked when scoping the interface: what is it the user wants to achieve and what information does the user need to know in order to complete the job. When you understand what the user wants to achieve you can start thinking about the task and the tools needed to complete the task. For instance, if the user is looking to make a new job posting on a recruitment website you’ll need to start thinking about what information you’ll need to gather e.g. job title, salary, description.
Story boarding is the process of outlining each of the steps in the process. Often these are drawn into wireframes of the process. Story boards should be used as a communication tool between team members and the client and also a way to visualise the steps in the process. They are a really useful tool which allows the team to test the work flows on the website. Story boards are of particular use when dealing with multi-step processes.
After you’ve spent weeks designing the website and the processes within it and it finally goes live, you can’t be sure if users will take to it well. One way of combating this problem is testing the processes early and frequently with your typical users. This will give you time and the knowledge about what to change in order to make the process as seamless as possible.