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The importance of user-centric website design

Web Development + UX UI Design + Content and copywriting + Web Design & Dev Blogs
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The importance of user-centric website design

Your website is not for you. That sounds harsh, but hear me out.

This can be a tricky concept for some clients to understand, but it’s crucial for executing effective UX (user experience). Don’t worry, we’re here to help. The Zimple UX team create the space and distance you need between you (as a person) and your website (not a person).

The key to understanding and applying this concept is recognising who your audience is, where they’ve been and what they know. 

You, as our client, already know everything about your product/service/business, so it’s easy to start typing out reams of text on your home page about your business with no connection to your audience. This is the trap; you’re losing them. Because you won’t always have enough clarity and depth of knowledge about who it is you’re talking to, how can you know that you’re communicating your message effectively? Your words are static on the screen. There’s no real-time, back and forth, question and answer conversation happening to confirm your ideas are being communicated… or received at all.

So how do we address this? The answer is User-centric website design. Or, as I like to call it, Choose your own adventure (that’s your dose of nostalgia for the day).

The more you research and discover who your audience is, the more we realise how varied and unique they are. They are humans after all – and no two of us are alike. The more you know, the less you know. User-centric design essentially is admitting that we don’t know for sure how and what our audience needs or wants to know. So instead, we create as many different “entry points” through small, focused chunks of information to guide the user down our intended paths (our user-flows).

This works in two ways:

  1. If the user already knows this particular point about your business, then they haven’t wasted a huge amount of time reading through info they already know (whilst also earning frustration points – bad UX). If anything, they received validation that they are in fact in the right place for what they’re looking for. Remember we don’t know exactly what they want yet because they haven’t entered a designed user-flow (entry point) and chosen their adventure. The user simply continues to scan down the page, accruing more validation until finally hitting a fork where they have a choice to read on, or discover more about a specific feature of your product/business.
  2. We’re giving our users the opportunity to discover more about your business at their own pace, letting them decide what’s important to them. The user knows what they need to find on your website. We don’t… yet. Embarking on their own adventure tells us (if your UX is considered and finely tuned) more about their problem. A solid UX takes into account all possible paths with consideration of where the user has come from (what they now know). 

This is just one small tool we as UX designers use to make our client’s websites more engaging and useful. Now, when considering your home page content through the perspective of your users, do you still want to roll out reams and reams of non-valuable text about your business and wait for the user to scroll through and hopefully read every word? Or, provide them with the information and pathways they want and need to find the information they’re after? 

Remember, your website is not for you.

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