User-Centered Design: Why Web Development Must Rely on Usability
Companies no longer focus on pushing products to the market. Their main priority is to personalize the product to the user and deliver what the user expects. That’s why more and more companies are implementing user-centered design to their business strategy, and web development is no exception.
By neglecting user-centered design in web development, you may disconnect with your target audience and let the business leads opt for your competitors who prioritize the designing digital products that keep the end user in mind.
Today we’ll explore personalization in web development and explain why digital product development has to rely on user-centered design.
What is user-centered design?
User-centered design (USD) is all about putting the user on top of the development process. To create successful USD you have to understand consumer’s needs and goals. According to Sitepoint, user-centered design amounts to 5 key principles:
- understand your users and support their goals
- make your design easy to learn and enjoyable to use
- remain consistent across each screen of a digital product
- communicate with your users via smart navigation and feedback opportunities
- avoid any issues or bugs on the website
User-centered design demands that designers will implement a mixture of investigative (researches, interviews) and generative (brainstorming) tools to understand user needs. What’s more, the digital environment must be bug-free and allow users intuitive interaction with the website.
Why user-centered design is important for web development?
Developing a website without the end user in mind leads to poor performance and low effectiveness. If you don’t know exactly what your users want, how can you meet their needs?
Stages of user-centered design
The design is based on the understanding of users, their needs and tasks, and correlates with the user experience. In order to create the product which is highly usable and accessible, users are involved throughout the whole design process via researches and surveys.
The following are the general stages of USD process:
Stage 1. Identify what users need.
You have to develop your digital product taking into account a user’s requirements, needs, and feedback. Note, that user-centered design improves user experience and should be implemented throughout the entire customer experience. Every ‘touchpoint’ of user interaction with the product should be analyzed, well designed and developed.
- specify the context of use
Explore who is going to use your product and what they will use it for.
- specify requirements
Identify all user goals and requirements that have to be met to make your product successful.
- produce design solutions
Think about the product concept and proceed to the complete design.
- usability testing
Perform usability testing with actual users and discover if there is anything that should be improved. If yes, return to stage 1. If a product is successful, proceed to stage 2.
Stage 2. Product delivery.
Users shouldn’t adapt their behavior to use the final product.
There are many variations of user-centered design. You can use it together with waterfall, agile, or any other approach.
Benefits of user-centered design
User-centered design can bring a lot of advantages to your business. It improves the customer experience associated with your website. Some of the main benefits of user-centered design:
- You build a positive user experience.
- You improve website performance.
- You increase sales.
- You increase your product quality.
- Your website needs less support.
- You reduce website maintenance costs.
Gain success with user-centered design in mind!
Successful web development must rely on user-centered design approach. From understanding the needs of your users to website development, user-centered approach requires a lot of hard work and efforts.
However, with a trusted web development company on your side, you can be sure in successful user-centered design. The only question left to answer is whether or not you’re ready to focus on your audience and gain the rewards that will come with this approach.