Planning and design for great user experiences

A well-thought-out website with quality design and an intuitive user-journey is often hard to come by. It isn’t just about appealing to your audience and web-users, but there are factors that will affect search engine optimization (SEO), user journeys and other key aspects of your online presence.

Well-designed software solutions and websites engage users, clearly reflect a company’s brand and are easy to navigate. This means getting the architecture underneath it all right, from the start. This will require a project plan to outline everything that needs to be scoped and considered for software solutions and a website.

Planning stage

Before getting to the exciting stages of how your website will look, it is important to first establish how it will work. Getting this right will mean you get a well-designed website or software application that not only looks good but also works well. The following factors influence the structure and design of your website, need to be well thought through during the planning stages.

To establish the required information for a detailed plan, you may need to conduct audits on what you currently have, stakeholder research, competitor analysis and analysis of requirements.

Site goals – What are you trying to achieve with each page and the website as a whole? Establishing a goal for each page will help ensure the layout and content is designed to guide the visitor to your desired outcome. For example, if you want people to see the services you offer and then to complete a contact form, you will ensure that each page they may land on leads to the relevant service, which leads to this goal. Along the way, you need to provide them with the information they need to make this decision.

Audience – Who are you trying to target? Being clear on who our website is aimed at will influence the messaging and general usability of an application. For example, if users aren’t tech-savvy, the primary navigation menu will need to be clear and easily found with key information only a few clicks away. You will need to plan out the most linear process for them. This will allow users to achieve their own goals, as they can easily find the most relevant section or content they need. This content needs to be using language that our audience will be using too – something that you’ll need to establish with stakeholder research.

Usability – Identifying, testing and perfecting your desired user-journey can begin right from the start. You want to display the right information in the right places to culminate users in your desired outcomes, usually outlined by your site goals. It is important not to distract them with pop-ups or other functionality that may confuse them. This is key to a linear

You can use the scoping phase to create interactive wireframes which can prototype and build the skeleton of your website in a visual manner. This helps to organise your processes and goals before development starts.

Design – You need to be visually appealing as well as recognisable. You will need to identify your brand’s key messages, values and positioning as this will heavily influence the look and feel. The design needs to communicate your organisation through imagery, content, colours, icons, fonts, buttons and other design features. It is important to ensure your site is consistent, so should be planned ahead of time.

Content – What are the key messages you are trying to communicate? Key information needs to be readily available in digestible chunks for site visitors. It needs to be language they understand and structured in a logical way so they can find the most relevant information to them. The overall design needs to be able to accommodate everything that you need to say, clearly.

Online visibility (for websites) – SEO is key to getting a website found online and needs to be considered from the start to ensure you are being seen in the right places.

 

Keywords could influence copy and page structures (helping to present what your website is about in the clearest format)  which enables search engines to display your site for the most relevant searches. You need to identify your most important content, conduct keyword research and find what is missing for your new site. Other, more technical aspects of SEO will include page names and many other factors for your consideration.

Creating mock-ups of designs will be beneficial – this may include branding work such as icons, colours and fonts as well as the main web pages themselves. This allows feedback, improvements and ensuring consistency before anything is even built.

It is also important to consider how your website will work on other devices and making it responsive and accessible to all. You want to make sure every user’s experience is well considered to achieve your outlined goals.

How can we help?

Our project management team use a range of tools and techniques to coordinate and plan projects. We break our work down into 2 phases discovery and scoping – to find all your requirements and build wireframes and designs for you to consider, before moving into phase 2 – delivery. To find out more about how we work, get in touch today.

Why you must keep your technologies up to date