Almost all websites are developed to be used by people other than the person footing the bill for the design. Why? Because the purpose of these sites is to sell a product, service or impart information. That is why a website’s design should focus on a user-centered interface — for ease of use and a better user experience.
It is vital for businesses, website owners and website designers to all understand how user-centered design works, so they can better keep that priority in mind through the website development process. Here is a breakdown to explaining the steps to user-centered design and interfaces:
1. Analyzing Your Users and Supporting Their Goals
This is all about knowing your main users. Ask yourself what users want from your website and how they would intuitively go about getting it. Finding this out before you begin designing will avoid timely and costly development errors, as well as strengthen user experience.
2. Designing an Enjoyable Interface
Taking what was learned about your users, you can now begin to build an interface that they will easily navigate. Is what they need easily accessible? Where they need to click to get the product or information they desire should be obvious and intuitive to get to.
Every action they perform on your website should be rewarded with a confirmation. Did they use the contact form? Thank them for doing so, instead of laving them guessing whether or not the message went through. The same approach goes for ordering and any other place they may input or interact with your site.
3. Evaluate Through Feedback
While you should certainly welcome website feedback from visitors contacting your business, there all also many other ways to discover how your design is working — or not working — for them. Surveys can be implemented to directly ask users about usability levels specific design areas and interfaces.
Heat and scroll maps can tell you exactly how users interact with the site, as can Google Analytics and many other tools.
4. Implement Consistently
This has many meanings, not the least of which would be consistency with design. Website designers should also consistently implement what they have learned about user motivation and feedback across the website. Never confuse or frustrate your user.
The bottom line is that no one wants to use — or buy from — a website they have difficulty navigating. But they will come back to one that quickly met their needs and where they had an enjoyable experience. The easiest way to ensure users do have a great experience is to know what they want from the outset of your website’s development.