My Journey Through User Centered Design

By: Jessi Winner

Something that might have been foreign to me a couple months ago has now become my obsession. That obsession is: user centered design. This approach to developing interactive systems focuses on making systems usable for every consumer. Whether I am curled up in bed reading “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug, or watching tutorial after tutorial on lynda.com, I am literally eating, breathing and dreaming about user centered design. I cannot get enough.

With that being said, I would love to share a few tips I have learned so far:

1. Whether it is an app, a social media plan, or a web design I think personas are life! Create the story for your plan and live by it. Know who your key clientele is and tell their story.

2. Don’t over clutter your user with pointless information. Give them exactly what they need to survive and strive.

3. Make your decisions data driven. Stick to the facts and build from there.

4. Remember the experience is much more than just the product. It is everything from the website’s key selling points, to the way your neighbor is talking about it. Let your brand strive through the user experience and leave the users earning to come back for more.

5. Control and lead your user. You do not want your user feeling abandoned or confused. Make sure that you give them enough information so they can figure out how to navigate your site or application. A confused user is a frustrated and unhappy user.

6. Spend more time planning and researching than actual design. If you have the facts and information to back up your designs, then the design process itself should be a breeze. There should not be very many “surprises” if you have a process behind your design.

While discovering the term and process of “user centered design” it is almost like I was finally able to find a word that fits what I have been basing my website designs around all along. It is essential to make the navigation process as easy as possible for your users and user centered design is exactly how to do it! It is all about the consumer, after all!

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