Serving the Brand with User-Centered Design
Delivering a web design that both effectively resonates the brand it represents and puts the user first, can be a complex task – especially when multiple markets or user segments are at play. User centered design, sometimes referred to as human-centered design, does a great job of prioritizing the user and making the environment ideal for their tasks – but it may not always serve the brand adequately.
Blending customized design strategies and traditional user centered design best practices can prove to be the ideal route, satisfying the needs of each side.
Build a Foundation
While user centered design can prove to be an ideal creator of pathways for the user, it’s essential to understand the brand: it’s brand values, core messaging and it’s positioning in the current market. Determine business goals and to help construct how the user will be driven to conversion.
Follow the Process
Whether it be an iterative approach or an alternate design process, it’s important to adhere to a creative process that works for the team. Traditionally, user centered design is a cyclical process catering primarily to the user. Taking an iterative approach allows for the design to be ‘dialed in’ to a more detailed and polished final product.
Customize the Experience
This is all about knowing the audience. Not just ‘user preferences’, but studying how the consumer interacts with the brand or product, interests, motivations and preferences. To adequately personalize an environment for the user, research must go far beyond simple demographics to serve multiple sub-sets and offer a valuable solution for each individual.
Tap into Talent
In a user centered process, so much of the initial phases of work involve simply analyzing and strategizing. Collaboration between strategy, content and design teams is key in delivering a product that has both the ‘brains and beauty’ needed to reach an optimized user experience and allow the brand to shine. Building on the initial framework of brand knowledge, developing a wireframe and moving into the design process will enable the most useful solution.
By simultaneously designing for the both the user and brand, greater benefits arise for each side. Critical information is brought to the spotlight, while directing the user to their ultimate destination and providing the conversion to the site owner. In the end, an engaging and goal driven experience is delivered.1