Website user experience is the personal encounter a person has with your website. When a user visits your website, you have the opportunity to influence their behavior and perceptions. Influencing a users experience requires a deep understanding of who that person is and what they want to accomplish.
When you architect website structure, understanding is a discovery and defining process that involves the following.
- Defining user groups
- Conducting research
- Creating personas
- Defining user requirements
Defining User Groups
User groups describe who will use the website. Will the users be potential customers, current customers, potential employees, investors, partners, donors, and/or members? This is a brainstorming step that helps generally define and prioritize groups so you know where to focus your research when you architect website structure
You’ll have to decide what user group you want to focus on when conducting your research. For example, you might want to focus your efforts on the user groups that will make the company the most money. If that’s the case, then you’ll want to discover who your potential customers are and how they behave. This can be accomplished by interviewing stakeholders involved with the project, employees who deal with customers, current customers, surveys, and emails.
A persona is a detailed description of a fictional person within a user group who might use your website. Personas describe a person. Where do they live? What’s the climate like? How do they live? What are their beliefs? What is their personality like? What do they want? How do they interact with you and your competitors?
Answering these questions before you architect website structure helps shape a fictional character that will serve as a guide when creating a valuable website user experience.
Defining User Requirements
User requirements are statements about what personas want to accomplish on your website. What will the users do? How will they navigate through your website? What content are they looking for? How will they interact? The goal is to solidify what website functions and features will be necessary in order to provide a user-centered experience. By stating user requirements that align with user needs, your website will accomplish the task of influencing the user’s perceptions and behaviors.
Keeping user experience in mind when you architect website structure through defining user groups, conducting research, creating personas, and defining user requirements will allow you to influence the behavior and perceptions of users, which will automatically lead to a successful website that accomplishes all of its goals.