User Centered Design Practices are Essential for a Successful Website
Designing a successful website that effectively targets its intended target audience while offering a smooth navigation experience is a crucial factor for a business’ digital goals. While designing a website a web designer should look at the external factors that helps build an efficient website in the website design process. These factors include; client’s needs, the project requirements, business goals, industry norms, web development technology and web design trends.
The most popular search engine in the world, namely Google has been placing a large emphasis on a new trend that is gaining popularity lately; user centered web design. This practice includes the real world client’s needs and their user behavior to produce a truly functional website.
This practice focuses on the users, their behaviours, how they interact and navigate through a website. Basically, user centered web design focuses on user experience within the environment it was created for them through the web design and development process.
What is User Centered Web Design
User Centered Web Design consists of strategies and set of practices that put users in the center in the web design and development process. Placing your users in the center of your web design means that you should consider their behaviours and practices from beginning to end. This approach ensures that the relevant users are targeted within your industry which helps you target your audience more effectively to achieve your goals. A proper user centered web design strategy aims to create design solutions that caters to user needs.
However, one must understand that not everyone is your target audience. This design approach aims to create a design that is relevant for your target audience’s needs and their behaviours and unique ways to interact with your website.
User Centered Design focuses on target audience’s demographics; their age, gender, social status, education and professional background. Since not everyone has the same habits and preferences, it is important to understand who and what your target audience is, their beliefs, patterns and emotions. This information helps the design team to build a website more efficiently which aligns with the business requirements and goals.
This design approach clearly aims for a specific target audience assuming they possess similar behaviours and and demographic nature. Web designers should take into consideration this information while designing website.
Effectiveness of User Centered Web Design
User centered web design is an effective approach to design process that targets your audience in an effective manner. This design approach improves the web design performance by reducing the errors causes by user mistakes. The website is easy to user and easy to navigate through due to its design ease. Because of this, users tend to find quickly what they are looking for in an efficient manner.
Additionally, it also increases the exposure to the brand, service or the product by getting an ever increasing relevant traffic to the website. Exposure to the brand via its website is maintained through the website getting new visitors while keeping the existing users. User centered design approach also increases the website’s credibility of the website which in return increases the users’ impression of the website and the brand. This can be achieved by building satisfaction, trust and referrals.
Moreover, it also increases product and service sales through increased sales and completed transactions. Since the design itself is built for users in mind, the website offers seamless navigation and easy-to-use design to help users find what they are looking for while providing their intended search information.
User Centered Web Design Best Practices
User centered design can be successfully applied by implementing some general guidelines and rules in the design and development project. The most important factors to take into consideration are simplicity, relevancy, clear instructions and feedback.
There are few guidelines to follow while designing a user centered website;
- Research and Analyze; Find out who your target audience is. Carry out surveys and ask questions to find out what your audience’s values and interests are.
- Mapping; Understand and create a system that interlinks smoothly to guide the user throughout their website navigation, whether to purchase a service a product or reading a blog.
- Navigation; A consistent navigation that is logical and a search option is the best way users can find your content regardless of where they are. A sitemap is especially useful to offer all your content in one place so that your users can find what they are looking for effectively.
- Layout; Using a design that is rich in media and visuals will help your website to convey information in a visible way. Use interesting and informative visuals, choose your color palette in line with your industry and business norms and use visually striking graphics to enhance your users attention to the most vital elements of your website. Also, designing your website layout in sections that are easy to understand and navigate through will be beneficial.
- Usability and Google Analytics; These tools can help you effectively watch users in regards to how they interact with your website. By tracking your users and how they behave on your website can show your audience’s behaviour, what they are drawn to, which pages they spend most time on and what they want to see more.
- Accessibility; Accessibility means that your users can find what they are looking for in a fast manner without clicking around and getting confused much. This can be easily managed by having a search feature, content richness in article and blog pages and having a sitemap in the footer of the website.
- Importance of Mobile Usage; More than half of the web users are using their mobile phones to rather than their desktop computers. The design and user experience needs must align with your users’ expectations. Knowing what your users will look for on their mobile devices, how they navigate through your design and how they use your website will help you understand and design a website that is suitable for your mobile users.
Focusing on User Centered Design Will Help Your Business
Following user centered design strategies brings out successful results for businesses; both big and small. User Centered Web Design reduces the bounce rate and user frustration as it assists the user to complete tasks easily on the website and helps them find what they are looking for quickly. If you would like to discuss how we can help you build a website for your business that is user centered, feel free to contact us to get more information.