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User-centred design is the ability to design with the user's positive experience at the heart of all design processes. It is the aim of user-centred deign to create easy to use and learn interfaces to allow the user to undertake the tasks they need to. It relates to any interface whether it be web, mobile or application.

User-centred design is a straightforward concept and process and yet there are more websites out there than not that do not achieve its aims and offer the end user a poor experience. As with many simple concepts there are some basic but powerful rules.

1. identify who your users are and what they want

  • Technology can be complicated so people need displays that are free of clutter, otherwise they can’t see what options they have.
  • Identify all of your users and what they want to do with the system
  • "Average users" don't exist, research your audience and define the different user profiles or personas
  • Define the core user journeys and mark them out so users can easily identify the paths to complete their goals
  • Research your audience to identify the most important goals and prioritise these

"Good design is about making decisions and trade-offs"


2. undertake usability testing to identify problems with your design

  • set up tests with your users with defined tasks and watch and record what they do, how long it takes and how satisfied with the process they are.

3. Put off writing code for as long as possible

  • undertake iterative design
  • and test until you get the process right
  • this will be the right design

"You do not need a lot of design options"

If you undertake user-centred design you will end up at the right design and not the one your client thinks looks best. After all what is their knowledge of what design can work best for their client?

If budget and time is an issue then the second best option is to make use of an expert review. This is when a usability expert examines the design and compares it against a recognised set of web design principles.

This article has been created with reference to the usability specialists at www.userfocus.co.uk

Morae is an industry recognised software application for facilitating usability testing.

If you would like to understand how usability testing and user-centred design can improve your website and your business goals then contact us now.

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