When it comes to designing a website usability and user experience (UX) are key components. The user experience focuses on having a deep understanding of users, what they need, value, and their ability. It also takes into account the business goals and objectives expected to be accomplished by the website. UX best practices are centered on improving the experience of the user.
The first step is understanding the audience, and creating personas (a fictional character created to represent different types of users) that are likely to visit your website. Once we understand who will use the website we then need to understand how they are likely to use it and for what. Once we have this information we can begin to establish the desired actions that we would like for them to take.
The site architecture is very similar to the layout of a brick-and-mortar store designed to heighten the visitors experience and to produce greater revenue for the store. The tactics to designing a website differ but the principals are the same.
To create the best possible user experience a website must possess the following qualities:
- Useful- the content must be original, relevant and must provide the information sought by the visitor
- Usable- a website must be easy to navigate with a clear path to retrieving the desired information
- Desirable- the images, identity, brand and other design elements must evoke the right emotion
- Findable- content must be easy to navigate both on the website and off
- Credible- users must feel that the information provided is credible
To design, develop and create the right user experience there are several steps and disciplines involved.
- Project Management- plans, researches and organizes the website structure
- User Research- establishes and develops personas with defined behaviors, needs, motivations, abilities, limitations, etc.
- Usability Evaluation- evaluates the ease of website navigation, and information retrieval
- Information Architecture- develops a plan on how information is to be organized, structured and presented throughout the website
- User Interface Design- designs a website with the user in mind, making it easy to access, engage with and understand
- Visual Design- creates a design that is inline with the brand
- Content Strategy- writes and curates useful content
- Web analytics- Focuses on the collection, reporting and analysis of website data
Building a website that takes into account usability and user experience is an involved process. It requires plenty of research, experience and expertise to do it right. Merely building and launching a website isn’t enough. At GBR Associates, we guide clients through the use of our proven web development process. Process is everything when it comes to ensuring that your website functions with your goals in mind.