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September 3, 2009

User Experience – How Your Visitors Perceive Your Website

The concept of user experience, and the consideration of ideas that lend toward the optimization of that concept, have created a field of interest and study that is growing as a concrete and primary business model regarding the online world. The focus on user experience is defined through standards that involve multiple dynamics. A paramount is placed upon not only the user’s perception of a web site, but also the sites ability to efficiently serve the user’s needs while simultaneously reflecting the business operatives sought after by the owner of the site.

There are many standard sets, such as The Stanford Guidelines, which relate to the functional aspects of a web site, referring to credibility, updates, and other performance based ideals. However, evaluating and applying user experience principles involves a more complex and multifaceted mindset. When dealing with UX, (user experience) a web designer or programmer must incorporate concepts that exist independently, but also blend smoothly and work efficiently.

User Experience is about more than just building a website

Many believe it is the responsibility of the web design company to implement UX effectively in ones websites, yet in reality this is a common misconception by many business and associates. In reality, all areas of development of a website are critical, especially the content as it contains the philosophy of your business and is the key in sharing this philosophy with your users. Along with effective content organization, marketing techniques and add to the overall effectiveness of a web-site, by understanding what your visitors are looking for when they visit your site.

There are many aspects of User Experience that are very complicated and in many ways this discipline is still being developed and mastered. Many debate whether the topic is even a distinct area of study. Louis Rosenfeld, an author and publisher who focuses on web information architecture claims of UX that, “At best, it’s a common awareness, a thread that ties together people from different disciplines who care about good design.” While this may be true in many aspects, the discipline albeit still forming, is commanding extensive attention via statistical research methods throughout the online arena.

The Specific Set Of Concepts To Follow

The UX Honeycomb Model, designed by information architect Peter Morville, lays out a specific set of Concepts to be systematically applied when designing a site. Usability with a strong focus on emotional design principles use functional aspects to provide comfort and attraction to a given website.

This supports the fact that all facets of custom web design and consultation come into play when analysing how a user will feel and react when they visit your site.

One of the important areas to think about when implementing UX principles is to consider other proven sites without copying the exact UX. User Experience is really very complicated and can’t simply be applied through blanket methodology. The unique user experience if defined via the identity and purpose of each individual site. Therefore, attempting to apply standard methods in order to copy a set formula of another site with a different set of values can be not only detrimental, but also wasteful.

Every site must have its own unique angle when it comes to User Experience

Every project engaging UX principles call for a custom outline predicated on the business or non-profit’s available resources, abilities, timeline, finances, and a plethora of realistic factors.

Additionally, because the concept of UX is based on users or people, a detailed paradigm of interpersonal qualities in many ways define the effectiveness of user experience initiatives.

Therefore, attempting to broadly and forcefully incorporate a devotion to UX, rather delicately fuse it with existing business principles, would be an ineffective strategy. Steve Baty, principal and user experience strategist at Meld Consulting, concludes that, “People cling to things like personas, user research, drawing comics, etc…In reality the best designers have a toolbox of options, picking and choosing methods for each project what makes sense for that particular project.”

In the world of online efficiency, user experience models and principles are in many ways the logistic DNA of a site as it relates to its audience. In effect, the result of that blueprint proves to be the signature or fingerprint that separates a simply conducive web site from an engaging, capturing, and truly optimal site that rewards the user, developer, and company in a similarly gratifying manner.

WKWD knows that success or failure of your custom web design project is determined by the user experience. Find out more about why the professional web design company you choose to develop your website will either help your business succeed online or hold it hostage. We have the answers.