Developing customeroriented content

User-centred design

Design based on optimising the user experience according to all factors, including the user interface, which affect this.

Nigel Bevan (1999a) says:

Unless a web site meets the needs of the intended users it will not meet the needs of the organization providing the web site. Web site development should be user-centred, evaluating the evolving design against user requirements.

How can this customer-oriented or user-centred content be achieved?

User-centred design starts with understanding the nature and variation within the user groups. According to Bevan (1999a), issues to consider include:

• Who are the important users?

• What is their purpose for accessing the site?

• How frequently will they visit the site?

• What experience and expertise do they have?

• What nationality are they? Can they read your language?

• What type of information are they looking for?

• How will they want to use the information: read it on the screen, print it or download it?

• What type of browsers will they use? How fast will their communication links be?

• How large a screen or window will they use, with how many colours?

Rosenfeld and Morville (2002) suggest four stages of site design that also have a user-centred basis:

1 Identify different audiences.

2 Rank importance of each to business.

3 List the three most important information needs of audience.

4 Ask representatives of each audience type to develop their own wish lists.

We noted in Chapter 2 that customer persona and scenario analysis is a powerful technique of understanding different audiences which can be used to inform and test web site design.

Evaluating designs

A test of effective design for usability is dependent on three areas according to Bevan (1999b):

1 Effectiveness - can users complete their tasks correctly and completely?

2 Productivity (efficiency) - are tasks completed in an acceptable length of time?

3 Satisfaction - are users satisfied with the interaction?

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