Websites with good user experience have not happened because the person or people responsible for the website necessarily have any website design expertise. They have happened because those people have thought about their customers.
1. They know their customers
They have all designed their websites around their users. This means they’ve understood:
- Needs – asked their customers what they need
- Tasks – found out the main things their users will want to do and how quickly they expect to be able to do these things.
- Real use – looked at real users using the site.
- Tested ideas – put design ideas in front of users to find out what the users think and feel, see what users try to do when they try use the new designs.
- Measured – used web analytics using analytics tools to understand how customers are actually using the sites
- Context -they’ve looked at their customer’s environment when looking at their websites – the context of use – if they are looking on a smartphone on the bus, a noisy office, while trying to feed the kids.
2. They have looked at the strategy for their website.
They have a clear view on what they want to get out of their site. And what their users want to get from the site. What are users’ goals? What are your goals?
3. They have also looked at their website structure
- Pages – most relevant to the users.
- Links and navigation – users can get to each page and can go where they want after.
- Information architecture – how information is grouped and categorised has been done in a way which is most intuitive to users.
- Testing – They have done this using user testing of their ideas of website designs, otherwise known as usability testing.
- Customer satisfaction – they will have tested these elements, otherwise known as the website information architecture, with users.
4. They have also looked at the skeleton
They have made sure the layout, where the buttons, tabs, photos, and blocks of text are on a page, are where users would expect to find them.
5. They have also looked at the surface
They have made sure the visual design, images and text create the desired affect on their users. This is the ‘skin’, what you can see on the screen.
6. User Testing
They have done all of this by testing design ideas with users. This is often called Usability Testing, to establish how easy to use a design is. Once the site is built they will have done user acceptance testing of their website before they publish it live on the internet. They will have also tested their website performance to make sure it is not too slow.
The result is website design which is centred on the users, creating a great user experience which is relevant to the different users.
Get feedback. Review your website or website ideas with people you know, people who work in your business, your friends, family, and if you can your customers. Get feedback by breaking things down into chunks. Here is a useful check list of questions to ask:
- Who are your customers?
- What do they need from your website?
- What does your business need from your website?
- Is your website easy to navigate?
- Can users find what they are looking for?
- Does your website make sense to people?
- Can users find what they expect on a screen, how hard do they have to look for what they want?
- How does your website make people feel?
- What does it say to people about your business?
- Is the final conclusion they come to something that’s going to help you?
- If not, how can it be improved?