Creating a blog and curating quality content is a key marketing strategy for many different companies these days — but simply creating a website doesn’t automatically equate to success. In fact, there are many different elements that go into a profitable blog or website, one of the most important of these being a user-centered design. If you don’t cater to the visitors to your site on their terms, you’re likely going to struggle to find any traction with your online efforts.
What is User-Centered Design?
User-centered design tends to combine things like user experience (UX) and user interface (UI), both of which factor heavily into the user end of a site. User interface represents the bones of your website. It’s the functional end of things, like the buttons and links that help visitors use the site. A good, smooth, functioning user interface is obviously important to a user-centered design, as it allows users to, well, use the site without trouble.
User experience, on the other hand, while also important, focuses more on the interactions and engagements of the users themselves. It isn’t as concerned with the interface as much as it is with the layout, hierarchy, and overall goals of a site. However, still, both aspects are intrinsically linked when it boils down to building a successful and converting wesbite. Both a quality experience and a functioning interface are important bricks to building a a top tier website, and in many ways sum up the most important qualities of a user-centric design.
Benefits to the Users
User-centered designs have many natural benefits for the users themselves. These can be impacted by both the eye-appeal as well as the overall experience a site creates and are important to keep in mind when designing your site.
The visual design of an overall site is a critical part of a user-centric website strategy. For example, Apple founder Steve Jobs was pinpoint-focused on creating clean, friendly, fun designs that were both simplistic and visually pleasing — and we all know how well that went for him. While the functionality of a site is obviously important, the looks play a huge role in attracting and retaining customers in the first place.
Apart from the color scheme, fonts, and other visuals, a good user-focused design also makes sure to engage a website visitor, takes their hand, and walks them through an experience that they’ll both enjoy and remember. Both of those two conditions, enjoying and remembering, are critical components to a good user experience. If a user feels they’ve had a good, memorable time on your site they’re much more likely to patronize it in the future — this is what sets a unique purchasing experience apart from simply “adding to cart.”
It’s important to remember that a truly user-centered approach isn’t simply focused on your site at face value. While things like visuals and creating a purposeful experience are pieces of the puzzle, they aren’t everything. Other things that you’re going to want to consider are basic functions like fast loading time and ensuring that your user experience is mobile friendly.
If a user can’t access your site easily from their mobile device or, even worse, can’t get it to load in a reasonable amount of time, it can be detrimental to the entire user experience before it even really gets started. For example, Neil Patel suggests that within the first four seconds of delayed loading time alone, you can lose as much as 25% of your traffic. In other words, make sure your site is loading quickly to avoid a high bounce-rate.
Benefits to the Bottom Line
It should come as no surprise that users benefit from a focus on, well, themselves, but it’s worth taking the time to also specifically highlight some of the primary ways that prioritizing a user-centered design on your website can directly influence your own company’s success:
One beneficial element to a user-centered design strategy is the fact that the longer you gather data and research based on your users, the quicker and easier your web designers will be in executing their work.
There’s a natural hesitation that comes with a lack of information, after all. An uninformed web designer is basically left to design sites based on their own needs and assumptions, but those assumptions tend to melt away as designers learn more about the actual needs of the users that they’re designing the site for.
To summarize: when a web designer is confident in the needs of the website user, it allows them to create effectively and efficiently without wasting time and resources.
We already discussed how a properly implemented user-focused design enhances a user’s experience from the perspective of the user. However, this also bears fruit for your bottom line as well. Customers who are impressed, happy, and satisfied with the experience of using your site are going to be much more likely to become loyal customers, use your products and service, and promote your brand and message.
To summarize: if a customer has little trouble navigating your site and is able to find the information they need easily, it increases the chance that they’ll have a positive overall experience and, consequentially, a favorable view of your blog or business.
Prioritizing User-Centered Design
There’s no doubt that it can be difficult to put yourself in the shoes of your users. Fortunately, though, technology has created increasingly easier ways to gather data and market research in order to understand a site’s target audience.
When we utilize the plethora of various data and analysis tools available in order to help meet our audience’s needs through a user-centric design, we can create a quality experience that increases customer loyalty, retention, and even your organization’s bottom line.