User-centered design is our working philosophy and a comprehensive approach for designing interactive systems in a user-centered way. User-centered work is characterised, among other things, by the fact that even at the start of the project, the focus lies on the needs and usage context of end users. Later in the project, we ensure that the user perspective is retained and does not take a back seat behind internal needs and project conditions.
By integrating the subsequent user community, we ensure that your online project is actually accepted by your target group after the launch. This working method makes it possible for us to successfully shape interactions in a way that is fit for purpose and that ultimately lead the project to success. According to surveys, 80% of all online projects are used with “bored satisfaction” or “quiet dissatisfaction” – if at all.
Consistent user-centered design ensures “enthusiastic satisfaction” and thus investment security.
In user-centered design, there are various approaches that are applied based on the project-specific requirements. For complex projects, it is possible to track the approach as described in DIN EN ISO 9241 Part 210. This involves the user community from the start. Elaborate revision cycles after launch are thus avoided.
For smaller projects with strict deadlines, Mayhew’s “usability engineering lifecycle” can be applied as an alternative. Here, user feedback is only collected after the installation of the system. Time can thus be saved during development.
Virtually all practicable procedure models of user-centered design can be shown abstracted in 4 phases.
At the start of every project, we look at the context of the respective project. This includes an extensive look at the strengths and weaknesses of the inventory system (if available), the industry and competition and all existing documents and information. In addition, all stakeholders in the system, including their relationship to the website, are defined – and surveyed. According to DIN EN ISO 9241 Part 210, a stakeholder is “an individual person or organisation who has a right, a share, a claim or an interest in a system or its features that correspond to their requirements and expectations”. We distinguish between the needs of internal and the needs of external stakeholders. We subsequently distinguish between primary, secondary and tertiary users.
The analysis results in various user needs and requirements as well as the guidelines for configuring the next project steps. Often also those that were not taken into account in the original briefing, yet prove to be elementary for project success.
We use personas to ensure that the focus always remains on the needs of the user community during the project. Personas are authentic profiles of user representatives for your core target groups, which we formulate from field interviews, available analysis data, our extensive experience and with the necessary empathy. They are supplemented, where required, by user needs, use cases and user journeys.
A great benefit of personas for you is that decisions in planning, implementation and supervision are not made on the basis of personal opinions and preferences but are instead based on the needs of the user community.
At the same time, qualitative, quantitative and creative requirements are taken into account in our concept. This results in a comprehensive and complete catalogue of implementation requirements.
Wireframes depict the first visual implementation of the requirements. In order to not get lost in details and complexity in this early phase, wireframes only represent the basic framework of the system and do not usually possess any colours, but do describe, for instance, the responsive behaviour.
Even in the design phase, working with personas is helpful as the creative optimum does not always represent the user requirements.
For instance, within the last few years, the use of what are known as hamburger buttons has become established on mobile devices for the space-saving version of the menu. However, large-scale user tests confirm that the hamburger button is not seen by every user group as access to the menu and is clicked on 20% less often in a direct comparison than the word “menu”.
The consideration of such studies and the testing of (alleged) best cases for the project-specific personas saves us revision cycles later in the project.
We constantly test intermediate results to find out whether the design and concept fulfil the initially defined requirements and needs not only of the personas but also of users “in real life”.
Here, too, you can draw on a variety of methods and approaches to evaluate results based on the project status. Whether as a simple quick test with you on site with verbal feedback, as a crowd test using all possible devices, or as a rapid prototyping test in the modern usability laboratory: we support you with implementation or take care of this directly. Don’t leave the success of your online project to gut feeling!
From: Harvard Business Review „Increasing Customer Loyalty“ (2013)
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