The Importance of User-Centered Design

3 minute read
July 2, 2017

User-centered design is at the very core of digital marketing. In this blog, we’ll explain what the user experience is, five important usability principles, and how you can keep up with your industry.

The user experience 

The user experience refers to how a system behaves with people in the real world. It doesn’t refer to any single aspect, but rather the entire experience someone has when interacting with your site.

Your site layout, content, typeface, phrasing, domain name, load time, and navigation all affect the user experience. You can’t design it directly, but you can try to steer it in a direction.

5 usability principles 

Jakob Nielsen created the five major usability principles, which are listed below:

  • Learnability: how will first-time users fare with your product?
  • Efficiency: how quickly can users complete their task?
  • Memorability: how easily can users recognize elements on your site?
  • Errors: how many errors do users make that interrupt their experience?
  • Satisfaction: do users enjoy your site experience?

You can’t really go wrong if you stick to these. Take pop-up ads, for example. They’re something that we can all agree are terrible for usability.

The second usability principle applies in this respect. Pop-up ads reduce the efficiency of your site by distracting your users. They also reduce the user’s satisfaction (for obvious reasons).

Learning from others 

The thing about web design is that it really varies industry-to-industry. Law firms and tech companies have completely different audiences, and thus, their designs will be on opposite ends of the spectrum. This Forbes article recommends checking out how your competitors generate and convert leads:

“Always do your research and see what people in your industry are doing on their sites, check the new features they’ve implemented, see what big players are doing and implement that functionality to provide the best experience to your users and convert them into customers.”

A combination of applying the usability principles to your site and learning from competitors will go a long way with respect to your user experience.

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