How to Design a User Centric Website
You may think you know your audience down to a tee. What they want from a website, how they’re going to use it and what will help to drive more sales. However, this isn’t always the case.
We can all have pre-conceptions, whether you’re designing a website for your own business or a client. We think we can put ourselves in the user’s shoes, taking their thoughts and processes for granted. But, this is where websites can be fatally flawed.
In an increasingly competitive online market, your website needs to stand out. The best way of doing this is to create a site that is centred on user experience. You want to ensure that an individual’s journey through your website is as easy and seamless as possible. To help you, here’s 5 tips on how to design a user-centric website.
1. Begin with research
There’s no better way to understand what your user audience wants than asking them directly. Luckily, with today’s tools, you don’t have to spend thousands on focus groups and market research exercises.
Think about the information you need and start an open conversation with your target market. This could be done in the form of an online survey shared via social media or email. Make it quick and simple to answer so that people follow through and submit. You could even offer an incentive for those who complete the survey like a competition or access to valuable content.
This information will then help to form the foundations for your new website, ensuring that it meets the needs of the people you are targeting.
2. Don’t be too swayed by the competition
Looking at what competitors in your field are doing can be really valuable. Investigating what works well and not so well can help to inform your own decisions. However, don’t get too bogged down with what others are doing. This can influence your own decisions and you can end up focusing more on the competition that what the actual users want to see.
3. Steer clear of too many trends
Like fashion, trends can come and go in web design. Whilst some are here to stay, others will soon pass. Be sure to bear this in mind when exploring new design ideas and techniques. For example, whilst asymmetrical layouts and bold fonts are in now, they may not be as hot next year.
Your website needs to be designed with longevity in mind, so pay more attention to design trends that are here to stay such as responsive design and clean, minimal layouts.
4. Think about devices
When designing a user-centric website, it’s crucial that you consider what devices will be used to access it. We now know that in 2019, mobile is the main source of web traffic, surpassing desktop around 4 years ago. So, it goes without saying that all websites nowadays should be designed for mobile.
However, it’s important to consider your audience when finalising designs. While some businesses are fundamentally mobile-first, others may still rely heavily on desktop. For example, a high-ticket e-commerce store may attract mobile users initially who then prefer to checkout on a desktop.
5. Concentrate on tone of voice
The text you use on your site is still the key way to connect with your audience. Yes, images, graphics and videos are all great but words connect people and help them to build a rapport with your brand.
Your tone of voice needs to be consistent, not just on your website, but on all other platforms and outlets. Whether this is fun and upbeat or formal and authoritative, the way you address users on your site will play a big role in their overall experience.