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Design Should Serve a Purpose

By Site Strategics
February 1, 2016

Website Design is just pretty – it’s purposeful. The web design team at Site Strategics utilizes an efficient in-house web development process that involves several project management stages, including design, quality control, and testing to ensure a website does exactly what it was…well, designed…to do.

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An article by Gina Yost, “Make Design Decisions with a Purpose,” states designers often run the risk of becoming overly familiar with their work and start to design for themselves, losing perspective of what end users see and experience.

Yost suggests one way to prevent developing this bad habit is to utilize UX research methods to help keep the proper focus. She suggests designers asking themselves perspective-adjust questions, such as, “Is it difficult to find items within the site? Are there too many links?” This is a type of research – and that’s always a good place to start with any project.

After questions, Yost suggests doing a content audit. “By doing a content audit, I get a better understanding of what content and capabilities my users have access to, how the content is structured, as well as its overall quality,” writes Yost.

A content audit keeps content from becoming static and irrelevant. In today’s rapidly fluid business environment, modifying the content on your company’s website is often crucial for conducting business and remaining up-to-date regarding your products, services, special events, and other business activities.

Once a content audit is completed, Yost recommends open card sorting, a method for asking users to organize content without pre-established groupings. Each area of content is recorded on 3’’x 5’’ index card. After card sorting, Yost says she uses the heuristic markup to illustrate how a user might experience the website from beginning to end. This process allows you to see your website from beginning to end; it provides a way to visualize your content.

After the heuristic markup, Yost suggests conducting a comparative assessment of the website “to see the standards and best practices that users were likely to expect.” This step allows you to delve deeper into satisfying user expectations. Yost’s last step was to understand specific users through proto-personas.

“Lastly, I created proto-personas, based on the needs, goals, and challenges I learned from specific users,” writes Yost.

Overall, these UX methods allow you to make design decisions based on practical ways your website needs improvement. In the end, according to Yost, this method always reminds her how important it is to connect as much as possible with end users in every project.

You can read Yost’s entire article here.