Web Design and Development > User Centered Design
User Centered Design Leads to Successful Websites
Maximizing a website’s usability and user experience is essential for any website, as it means that visitors to the website are able to find the information they are looking for and entices them to return again. To make this happen, websites need to be developed with the potential users in mind. Three advantages of employing user-centered design in the development of your website include:
Increased project efficiency
Reduced development and training costs
Tidal’s UX designers uses the following techniques during the website development process to achieve user-centered design:
1. User Profiling
When developing a user friendly website, there are two important questions one should ask:
- “Who am I building this site for?”
- “What will the audience look for in my site?”
In user profiling, we look at data and, based on specific criteria, create user types, or profiles. The next step is user testing; the different user profiles are tested separately to see how they interact with different functions of the website. Since different profiles have different motivations and needs, properly profiling users is a very important step of the web development process and in creating a website with high usability.
With user profiling a UX designer will look at specific data criteria to create different user types or profiles. These different user profiles are then tested separately to see how they interact with different functions of a website. Since different profiles have different motivations and needs, properly profiling individuals is a very important step in creating a strong functioning website.
Some criteria that we look at when determining a user profile include:
- Experience with being online
- Geographic Location
- The user’s preferred sites
- Attitudes and Expectations
Gaining insight into how to improve usability for your specific user profile helps in creating what we call the ‘user journey’ – the route a user takes in navigating through the content of your website. Creating a Once a user journey has been established for your target user profile, designing a website with high usability is much easier to do.
2. User Scenario Design
User scenario design is part of user testing and builds off of the user profiles that we create. Since different user groups will visit a website for different reasons, it is important to test for all possible user scenarios. Typically, we create about 5 to 6 user tasks that would be considered typical to a particular user group. Tasks can vary extensively depending on the type of site that is being built, as well the detail with which each group may be looking at items on your website.
This approach helps UX designers to identify and solve problems early on in the website design process and reduces barriers to usability post-development.