Things to take into consideration in website design. Whether you have a multi-disciplinary design team, or are tackling it on your own, these concepts can be applied to your project.
See things from their point of view – you are not designing for yourself – you are too close to the subject matter, you know too much. keyword research can provide insights into how users reference products/services, ask questions, identify their needs, etc. This informs the guiding principle for all to follow: Balance user needs with business needs
Create key personas – assemble a picture of the user(s)… who are they? What are their needs?
What are your competitors doing? (Do it better)
Do your users expect a certain level/type of functionality, based on similar experiences? (especially when a certain functionality is key to the user’s goals, e.g. – real estate search)
Content audit, categorization, terminology
Top down vs bottom up – look at the info both from a holistic view of how the system is organized and from a “ground-level” view of a user’s journey Organize like your customer, not like your business Keyword research can influence your organization and naming of content/categories URL structure should mirror the organization
Get others to look at your designs – gauge reactions to visual design, organization of the content etc
Card sorting exercises – do your subjects come up with ways of categorizing that you hadn’t thought of? Design low-fi clickable models – have users test key tasks Observe users to identify issues and correct course – better earlier than later!
Don’t overcomplicate things Don’t make the user work too hard
Simplify Write for scannability Modularize – support multiple paths Write for keyword density 1 main idea per page Talk like your user, minimize industry jargon
anticipate user flows This page is designed with the goal of getting new user registrations
Customize the experience Missed opportunity to serve the needs of the user. (Authenticated version of page offers the logged-in user no clear path to the tasks they can perform on the site – everything is still focused on “sign up!”)
At the page-level: 37signals calls it “Epicenter design” – find the one most important thing on the page. Design that first and build everything else around it. Focus on designing a clear path to the desired action minimize distractions At the site-level: Design sub-pages and components that are core to user activities first. Then design home page.
users make snap judgments regarding a site's relevance and trustworthiness, based on visuals. Visual design also aids usability.
Web standards increase usability and improve SEO
How to keep them coming back: Fresh content (regular updates, blogs) Social aspects (community)
Game mechanics add an element of fun and challenge which incents users to spend more time, more often. If there is a system of rewards, people want to achieve (Top reviewers, most useful comments, top contributors, etc.)