Website user experience is the foundation of all good sites. If your users can find what they want as efficiently and intuitively as possible then the results – whatever they may be – will speak for themselves.
Good website user experience starts with good planning. The information architecture stage of projects is a vital component in understanding three important pieces of insight:
- User requirements
- Business requirements
- Technology available
The importance of the information above varies but in general is prioritised as shown – user requirements being at the forefront. It’s important to match what your users or customers wants to get out of your site, with what your business or site objectives are and then to decide how to accomplish this using the technology available. It is not uncommon for this step to be skipped over in place and website convention put in it’s place – mainly because of budget restrictions. however a well considered information architecture will have a big impact on the success of a site.
Before getting stuck into the look and feel, the creative design phase of the project, it’s much more useful to produce simple template wireframes which illustrate the layout and content elements on each page. We can then very easily present and sign off these layouts and hand them over to design – optimising the designer’s time and your input without expensive rounds of design iterations.
Sometimes it’s important to see how a component of site will work without building the entire thing first. This is where prototyping plays it’s part. We can very easily put together a working model of a web component – let’s say how a homepage news box might work – so that it can be ‘played with’ and modified. This again saves on the larger and sometimes expensive costs which can build up if things are changed in the development phase.
All, or some, of these components together with the interface design makes up the user experience element of any project. It’s not over when your site goes live though, a website’s lifetime should consist of constant user experience enhancements based on site analytics.