User Experience and the Project

Having open lines of communication is critical for project management.  When building a website many clients want to be as hands off as possible.  While we endeavour to take the brunt of the project there still needs to be open communication between all team members including the client.  With heavier reliance on user experience, research at the beginning of the site build is critical.  Building a website that is beautiful is very important but if no one knows how to use it what is the point.  The biggest step is helping the client identify the type of user they are wanting to target, not only with SEO keywords, but also how potential customers use the site.

It is important at the beginning for the client to understand their customer – not only in person but also online.  What is your demographic?  What are their values and attributes?  Where do you think you might find conflict?  (A good point here is that often the issues you have over the phone or in person translate to the web – do customers have issues understanding your products?) As well as the goals you have for your site?  When a client understands this about their customer not only will this help in day to day sales, it will also help the web designer to identify a proper layout and navigation of the site.

So what are the key features of providing a good user experience?  Here are a few points – not exhaustive, but a place to start:

  • Navigation – have you menu be clear and concise to avoid confusion
  • Text – do not include too much text on the site – when you do need to include a lot break it up with headings and bullet points for easy reading
  • Images – these should tell the story of the text – what is this site about?  What is it trying to say?
  • Remove the clutter – too much stuff is overwhelming – it causes me to leave sites all the time
  • Drive clients where you want them to go with strong, easy calls to action

Websites have a split second to make an impression.  Be sure that your site is easy to understand by anyone.  Really dig down to find out who you want to target and gear the site to them – you will be amazed how many more customers use your site.