Designing a website that caters to the needs of your users can sometimes be a difficult task but is one that can be achieved through user centered design. User centered design, also known as UCD, is a methodology that puts users in the center of its design by including them throughout various activities in the project’s development stages.
One of the first approaches of user centered design is creating focus groups. Focus groups are a very powerful aspect as they give companies insight towards users thoughts, feelings, attitudes and overall ideas of their company. The next aspect of UCD is usability testing. Usability testing requires a participant to complete a series of tasks with a prototype - such as a wireframe (digital or paper copy) - in order to find out how effective or efficient their design is. This stage is very important as it helps point out critical design flaws and allows for users to give direct design feedback. Another method that can be used during UCD testing is one called card sorting. Card sorting allows users to organize pre-determined categories and phrases into groups which allows companies to better understand design structure and layout. Lastly, there’s the aspect of conducting user interviews and or surveys. Most often, companies will try to conduct interviews over surveys as they allow for a more in-depth discussion. However, if a company can not reach their users personally, surveys are an excellent alternative as they still allow for companies to reach out, ask question, and gain feedback. Although not every method may be necessary for every web based project, the more insight a company can gain from user feedback the more that project will benefit.comments powered by Disqus