User-Centered Web-design or How Knowing Users Can Bring Success to a Web Site
The economy of the world is growing with every minute or, even better to say, with every breath we take. Every moment something is created or designed on our planet and something else takes the back stage. Creative things appear and disappear throughout our life. In the present time there are so many amazing things in the world, helping to make our life easier and more comfortable; however, not all of them are created the way every person would know, want, be able or have the possibility to use. Products, including web sites, should be created on the basis of people needs in their daily life, work, or leisure time. User–centered design (UCD) is a method of creating a final product, design of which is based on the research made among those who will use the creation. Such approach is necessary in order to make the final project meet the requirements of its potential users.
It does not matter what kind of product, a designer would intend to create, user-centered design would be a helpful tool to harmonize the purpose of the web site as well as its structure and interface with the expectations of the customers and users. There is a need of an approach to create any kind of tool or webpage, so that it would be suitable for as many users as possible. Hence, in order to make any web project effective, UCD approach should be applied from the very beginning of project development.
First of all, for the effective web design its creator should take under consideration the following question: What is the purpose of the particular web site for users? After that developers should make a decision on how the web site should be designed to meet the stated purpose. Also, web developers should consider target users profile, e.g. their age, location, gender, and their education level. Defining the audience of the web site, which will be created, requires fulfilling the significant research in order to take the road of success.
Second of all, in the process of creating a successful web project, designer should fill out a questionnaire, which should include at least four following questions:
- What is the context of use of the particular web page? In other words, designer has to set the goal of the web page, the field of its practical application.
- What are the requirements of the particular use? In other words, the frame of the future project should be drawn.
- What is the design solution? This may include all the stages of creating webpage or just a rough idea of it.
- What aspects of the project can be improved to make it better? The evaluation of the web design should be made with real users and, preferably, based on the feedback received in order to find out what needs to be changed or improved to make it the most successful and the most usable web site.
Those four stages of creating user-centered web design may bring a lot of hints for the main purpose of the product, which is to be the most usable website.
Third of all, there are four elements of UCD that leads a website to success. Those elements are: visibility, satisfaction, legibility, and language. In regard to visibility designer may consider how the page should look like, so the user will tell right away how exactly he can use the particular web site. In other words, it should be simple and, at the same time, interesting to use. Satisfaction is about the document to be pleasant, useful, and motivating for the user. In regard to legibility and language, web designer should make it easy and clear for the users to read the content of the website and comprehend it in a proper way.
Making a conclusion, let us say that user–centered design is the method of web design, which can be used to develop web pages not for the sake of being present on the web, but rather for the sake of being used by the web community. It is the way to make the final product popular and liked by the web users. UCD is the technology to apply for any product development in order to realize the purpose and form, suitable for and expected by the customers. This method helps to make web design more comfortable, suitable and interesting for those, who is likely to use it. Great design brings great success, isn’t it?