In terms of the Web Design Process, the is Phase 2: Planning. This is the part that truly makes the site actually a useful information system or user experience. This system must serve the intended user fully, which is the mindset I am referring to when I talk about user-centered design.
The first requirement for an exemplary user experience is to meet the exact needs of the customer, without fuss or bother. Next comes simplicity and elegance that produce products that are a joy to own, a joy to use.” (See full UX definition)
The more you plan, the more you define your problem, the better your solution to the problem will be. Here is the list of a few of the bits of information we need to gather:
- Develop personas, user flows, really focus on target audience/beneficiaries.
- Information architecture: what information is available where and when in the site
- Site Map: all main topics and subtopics
- Wireframes: all major page types
- Functionality specifications and technical specifications
- Interface behaviors: determine what the page actually needs to do, where and when
- Visual Hierarchy: determine what items are related to others and how these are arranged on the page
The way you begin to really formulate these concrete decisions is by taking your competitive analysis, your blue sky thinking, and you begin to truly focus on the user you most hope to reach.
There are a lot of methods used to get closer to the truth of your intended user:
- User Flows
We are just starting out, so we cannot spend too much time doing all of these methods. I want you to be aware, not overwhelmed.