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User Centred Web Design is an iterative process which involves testing and then redesigning. Websites should be flexible enough to grow depending on changing business requirements. Observing users and asking them to think out loud whilst they are attempting to complete tasks is important to achieving a better user experience for your business website.
Ensuring that users to find relevant information on the web should be the job of every web designer and developer. However, usability centred design is often neglected as a discipline in the industry. Sometimes website design team lack members with any real usability testing and consultancy experience. When this is the case it is important to receive usability training to bring your web department up to scratch.
How it works
Web usability starts with an understanding of a set of principles. Each website should be designed along these guidelines. But this alone is not enough. Each individual business as its own set of usability requirements and so needs testing. Necessary changes are then made to improve the user experience. Once changes have been made test again. Testing should take place by obviously real users and setting them a range of tasks to complete. These participants should then speak out loud about what they are doing and any difficulties that may arise. Common commentary may include the following:
“I expected to be able to click that, but I can’t. How frustrating.”
“I’m lost. I’m not sure how to get back to the other page that I was on”.
“I can’t find a number to phone”.