What do your users want?

You know it is important to create user-centered design; the web is all about your users. Giving them what they want is the only way to see money back on your investment.

When you create and use your own website it is easy to miss many of the little things that will drive your users away.

What can you do to begin to understand what your users want? Here are a few simple tactics:

User Centered Research

Advice from those who know you best:

Your friends know your business and who you are and they understand the message you want to send. If you already have a website and digital campaign, ask them to spend ten minutes to help you.

First have them look at your site, but only give them only 20 seconds. Then ask them to write down their impressions, who they think you are and what you do, the feeling they got from the site and any other first impressions they have. Even if they have visited the site many times before, these observations can be useful.

Next, have them look at your site and give them a task – buy something, contact you, make an appointment. The first request should be something easy, and your second a little more complex, ideally something that requires them to click at least 3 times. Observe or ask them to write down the path they took and any obstacles they encountered.

Finally ask them to evaluate how your site and web presence reflects who you really are and what your business does. This is something only friends can really see, especially friends who know you personally but are also familiar with your business.

Don’t take their comments personally! Use what they say to improve your site and messaging.

Advice from those who appreciate your business

Then ask a dedicated client, or survey clients online. Talk to the people who use your site and interact with your digital campaign. Find out who they are male/female, age range etc., what do they do on the web and where you fit in. Ask them to share some things that have really caught their attention, an article in the news, a blog post, an ad campaign. Find out if they shared this and how (told people face-to -face, tweeted it, emailed it, etc) and why it has stuck with them.