DESIGNING WEBSITES USERS LIKE
What is User Centered Design?
User Centered Design (UCD) is a philosophy that puts the user’s wants and needs at the center of the web design process. In web design, that means building websites so they help users accomplish their goals quickly and easily.
In the early days of the Web, developers built sites and expected users to figure them out. UCD turned the tables and put users, not programmers, at the center of the website design process.
When customers give input to a product’s development, the end result is a product customers want, will buy, and share with their friends. UCD is a win-win strategy for customers and businesses: the customer gets a product that meets a need, and the business generates sales and repeat customers.
Why is UCD Important?
In the web development arena, UCD is particularly important because your customers are in control of their buying experience. They come to your website with a specific goal in mind. If they can’t quickly connect their goal with content on your website, they bounce out of your website and go somewhere else.
One of the considerations of UCD in web development is the user’s persona. All users are not created equal. Sociologists that study online user behavior have identified four basic user personas: Competitive, Spontaneous, Humanistic, and Methodical. UCD ensures your website is providing a quality user experience for each user persona.
One of the most important ways in which your brand communicates with user personas is through your brand archetype. Your brand archetype is the personality your brand communicates to your customers. A website that is devoid of personality does not provide an engaging user experience. Understanding your archetype plays into everything about your online marketing.
Does your website present clear and well-defined options for your customers? Can they easily find what they are looking for – and just as important – do they know what to do once they find what they are looking for?
Starting with User Centered Design
If UCD creates a user’s experience on your website, then UCD needs to come into your website’s development at the beginning – not the end. Considering UCD best practices on the front end ensures an engaging user experience when your website is launched. An engaging user experience means more leads, sales, and repeat customers.