A web design and development project usually involves a number of stakeholders. From company owners, marketing directors, IT commercial managers, designers, and programmers, to name a few – they all have something to say or point out. Each of them has their own objectives and agenda to fulfil, and a different approach to making it happen. And while the stakeholders argued to have their perspective prevail over others, there is all too often one perspective that is forgotten: the user perspective. Balancing the varied and competing needs of different stakeholders can be a tricky task for any project owner. Most of the time, the final website reflects the views and perspective of the more influential stakeholder/s. While the perspectives of the main stakeholders are of course important to consider, they ultimately ignore the most important stakeholder in the success of the website design and development: the user.
The Single Most Important Stakeholder to Account For is the User
If you think the audience your website is primarily addressing it should be no surprise that the first thing it comes to mind is the User. They are probably the very reason you are creating the website in the first place! Unfortunately, a lot of companies when designing and developing their website either totally ignore the importance of user perspective, or simply undervalue it over the competing perspectives of other stakeholders (including their own).
And however much we hate to admit it, the reality is that the most important stakeholders are the users; they are those who make the final decision on whether they will use your company’s products or services.
But how can you even start to incorporate user perspective into your website’s design and development? Acknowledging that your target audience may have a completely different view, perceptions, and sentiments about many aspects of your brand and many offerings would be the first and most important step in the process. The first milestone should signal the mapping of the decision journey of your core users, define how the website adds value to them and how intuitively satisfies their core requirements. This process is what will define the success of your Web Design and Development project.
A Process that Positions Your Users in Center Focus
Even with the user in mind a great website doesn’t just happen. You need to have a comprehensive web design and development procedure that will allow you to stay focused on what matters the most – your users.
A suggested – tried and tested – process some of the best Web Design and Development Companies adhere is the following:
- Business Analysis: They want to get to know your business and deeply understand it too. They will meet to talk about your offering, target audiences, and identity, as well as your main challenges and capabilities. Using these insights, they can map and define your users’ digital journey, aligning it with your key aims.
- Wireframing: Wireframes are the bare bones of any website. A layout and the detailed content architecture on all pages of the website is formulated, ensuring that the UI is adapted to the users’ decision and digital journey. To assess the effectiveness of the wireframes, the designs go through a number of usability tests simulating various user scenarios and alternative use cases.
- Content Creation: Content is all about context. All written content on your website will be created by specialized content marketers whose writing will capture your brands’ voice. The content will follow strict content architecture and [Search Engine Optimization] SEO guidelines. In this way, your content stays relevant, engaging, and convincing both for humans and search engines.
- Visual Design: The next step is to pull together the content, User Interface -UI, and brand identity into a large, visually appealing synthesis. The design teams will produce a visual concept by carefully selecting the appropriate colour palette, fonts, and imagery that visually communicate the brand’s voice clearly and effectively following the brand guidelines and best practices.
- Development: Once all of the UI designs and functional specifications are approved, the development teams take on. In the context of this process custom-developed websites are the framework of choice, because they give teams the flexibility and ability to deliver a project to the highest of standards and meet specific objectives beyond technology limitations. Before the sign-off on the final website, a series of various tests takes place to make sure that a website is programmed to perfection.
- Tags and Metrics: The final step is to prepare your website to meet the users. Create, configure, and connect to all appropriate tags, pixels, metrics, and analytics so that you will be able to collect data, and to monitor and optimize performance.
If you need more proof why the entire process is worthwhile, just think about all of the successful businesses online. Without a doubt you will notice that they have one thing in common; they have all positioned user perspectives in front and center, with their satisfaction always kept in mind.