[VIDEO] The what, why and how of user-centric websites


What is a user-centric website?

It's about finding a balance between form and function. Form is the website design such as the visual elements, use of white space and the user interface. Whereas, function is about ease of use and getting a user to perform an action as fast as possible. Function involves the use of code, site structure, page load times etc. 

How can you ensure a great user experience on your site? 

The first key is to understand your audience. What do your users want from your website? What problems are you addressing and how can you illustrate these in both the visual and functional elements of the site? 

For existing websites, the first thing to do is analyse how current traffic are already using your site. Technical things that you can look at include page speeds, bounce rates and overall time spent on the site. This will give you a good indication of your site's performance to date.   

For new sites, always start by using wireframes. From a design point-of view, test each page with real users and get real-time feedback. Test both the functionality and the interactions with the different elements of your site. 

What is the relationship between quality and cost?

What are you trying to achieve? If it's new, unique and innovative then you need to be prepared to open your wallet a bit wider. On the other hand, you can throw up something quick and easy and test how it performs or use website template builders such as Squarespace for more standard-type websites. 

It's all about your goals and the functionality of the site. What do you want to achieve and how fast do you want it built? 

How can you evaluate whether a developer, designer or agency is right for your business?

1) Research and make a list of potential prospects.
2) Look at their portfolio of previous work
3) Get them to create some initial prototypes
4) Make sure that your vision is aligned with whoever you choose to build the new site

What you should be looking for is a designer with a strong technical ability. On the other hand, you should also be looking for a technical developer that also has an understanding of the basic principles of design. 

Keep in mind: Just because an agency has design capabilities doesn't necessarily mean they can design for full-scale website builds. 

What's the top 5 things to remember? 

1) Understand your audience
2) Understand your business goals (what you want to achieve with the website)
3) Test, test and test before committing to code
4) Make sure your team are aligned (same vision and end goals) 
5) Keep testing & refining (even after the website is live) 

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