Web analytics, social auditing, behavioral research, ethnography and search audits are great windows into your users’ minds and motivations. These insights are critical in helping to define user and business goals at the outset of a web design project. How effectively do we use them?
Great web design happens when the experience is built on what we know the business wants from the site AND what the users tell us they want. The process of connecting these pieces of information to overall site strategy is, well, Digital Strategy at its best.
One way to ensure that valuable insights and research are not lost is through careful mapping of these objectives to the site structure and content. Content mapping exercises, user flows and detailed use cases will ensure that we are headed in the right direction.
So how can we ensure that we stay on track? Formal accountability – evaluating how well we achieve user and business goals by establishing and measuring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – is not a new practice, but lately it has been pushed to the side in the wake of faster turnarounds and smaller budgets. Definitely not a smart sacrifice – KPI’s keep us honest and help us to fine tune our approach based on what we learn, giving the client more bang for their buck.
When the temptation arises to do something cool simply because the technology allows it, I say lets do a reality check by asking “Is this what the user wants to see? How do we know this? How can we confirm that this is effective?”