User Centred Web Design: Prioritising User Needs

Written By PhilG

Bradford Marketing Hub contains articles and information that help small and medium service businesses.

User centred web design aligns your business goals with your customers needs.

Your website will only further your business goals if you build it for the benefit of your customers. So, make sure you provide all the information prospective customers want, and make sure customers of all abilities can navigate and access that information.

Your business goals should clearly align with your customer’s needs.

Constantly reevaluate, hone, and refine your skills and your offer. To win the work you must be the best placed business to provide the service your customer needs.

The chasm.

There is a chasm of scepticism and fear between your customer and you. Your track record, website content, marketing materials, and sales staff build a bridge that leads your customer across that scary chasm. By crossing this bridge customers transform from being sceptical about your business, to being happy satisfied customers.

Get into your customer’s mindset.

To write effective website content you must do user research to understand the mindset of your customer. What are they thinking, when after searching for a service like yours they land on your website? Buying a service is more risky than buying a product because you can’t pick up a service and examine it before you buy. Therefore, customers of service businesses need more reassurance, evidence, and social proof of your ability and trustworthiness.

User research and user feedback.

Who is your customer and what do they want? An experienced sales person understands the needs and fears of their customers. If you’re starting a new business, talk to each customer you win. Find out as much as you can about who they are, what triggered them to contact you, and what they hope to achieve from your service.

The better you understand your customer the better you can serve them and the more clearly you can word your marketing materials in a way that appeals to them.

User research and user feedback are important elements of user centred web design.

Content strategy.

First get to know who your customers are, what triggered them to contact your business, and what they want from you. Then understand their mindset when they arrive on your website. When you’ve got all that information you’re ready to write your website content and your marketing materials.

Your website content acts as a matchmaker explaining why your ideal customer should see you as the best placed business to provide the services they need.

Create relevant and valuable content.

Develop content that is relevant, valuable, and aligns with user needs. Adopt a user-friendly tone and a format that enhances readability. Content can include text, images, videos, and interactive elements.

Information architecture.

Organise your content so customers can easily find the information they came looking for. Then provide a clear scent trail they can drill down to find less prominent information that might be in blog posts etc.

You can use navigation bars, categories, tags, an FAQ page, breadcrumbs, and a search box to make it easy for your customers to find whatever they came looking for.

Good navigation and site structure are vital for user centred web design.

Accessibility.

Nobody should be prevented from accessing the information they need to make a confident buying decision when dealing with your business. This means your website should be usable by people of all abilities.

People with limited sight need alternative text descriptions describing the images they can’t see. Hearing impaired people need closed captions when viewing videos. And people who can’t easily move a mouse need to use the tab key on their keyboard to navigate through your website.

The important point is to make sure your website is accessible to people of all abilities.

Testing, refining, and improving.

Ask customers who have paid for your service to explain why they sought you out. Next, ask them to explain what information they looked for on your website. Finally, ask them to show you how they navigated your website. Listen carefully for any bottle necks or sticking points they encountered, especially things that almost made them give up.

Use this information to make sure you are providing all the content your customers need and make that information easy to find.

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