Emphasizing the user from Discovery to Implementation
Whether the chicken or the egg came first is still up for debate. But in the world of website design, the user always takes precedent. When we describe user experience (UX), we are referring to how your website looks, feels, and functions holistically. Do its individual elements (such as graphics, navigation, media, and content placement) add up to a cohesive whole? It’s critical that they do — by catering to the user’s needs and expectations, you’ll ultimately satisfy both Google and your company’s objectives. Nowadays, almost all of Google’s best practices for search engine optimization relate back to the user and the quality of their overall experience on your website to help determine rankings in search results. How does Epic Web Studios work with clients to optimize user experience?
Step 1: Determining the who, what, where, and why of your user
This may seem obvious, but it’s challenging to design a relevant (and resonant) user experience without first understanding your users. What kind of person is seeking your product or service? How old are they? Single or married? Where do they live? What do they struggle with? Prosper with? These are just some of the questions you should try to answer before we even begin your project. Who is your user, what are they looking for (and why), and how do you make it as easy as possible to obtain it?
At the outset of any website design or redesign project, Epic Web Studios will try to gather as complete a snapshot of your target audience as possible through a combination of interviews, surveys, and analytics research (which might include analyzing keywords your target audience might use to find competitors in your industry). We refer to this as our Discovery Phase.
Step 2: Determining how you will get there
All the data gathered in the Discovery Phase serves a very important purpose — designing a website fine-tuned to the needs of the users you serve. This can, does, and should vary greatly — would you expect a senior services website to look, feel, and/or operate the same as a website for an energy drink? Would the content have the same tone? Of course not. Wireframes and mockups will be completed to figure out whether we’re on the right track.
During the Development Phase, we will weave the findings of our research into the look (graphic design — colors, fonts, imagery, and layout), feel (branding, personality, and presentation), and functionality (navigation and modules, or built-in features) of your website, producing a working prototype.
Step 3: Evaluating effectiveness
From there, your team and our team will put ourselves in the user’s chair, feeling out what components of the website work and which do not (although we do strive to get it right the first time!) Is all content readable, with legible typeface and proper contrast? Is all the pertinent information on your product or service easily accessible through navigation menus and sidebars? Is the flow of each page easy to follow? Does it load quickly? Is there a missing element that could add value to a page? An unnecessary element that could be done away with?
Communication and feedback are critical in the lead-up to full launch — our goal is to produce a fully optimized website that will land conversions from the get-go.
Step 4: Testing and tweaking
Delving into analytics may seem intimidating to some, but the insights it yields are invaluable as your website is molded into its best possible form. Keyword research can help hone your content into what users are searching for and improve your visibility. Google Analytics is a tremendously powerful tool in understanding your visitor behavior demographics. Applications like HotJar provide a look at how visitors interact with your web pages and their constituent pieces — and where they lose interest.
By acting on analytics findings, we can build a user experience that will have people coming back time and time again.
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