All websites have various goals depending on the scope of the project, but all projects have one common goal – to generate a return on investment (ROI). This ROI can be measured with a number of things anywhere from an increase in form submissions to developing new costumer relationships. Whatever the case may be, these objectives mark a clear understanding of what the company’s business objectives are outside the digital space. We go through a discovery period where we ask our clients many questions and do extensive research on their company and competitors so we can align these objectives with the user-experience on their website.
UX is Important
Websites have become a valuable commodity for businesses, as they are an important part of any marketing strategy. They are one of the first things customers use to learn more about a company. This is quite a powerful idea because not only can this be the first experience your potential customers have with your brand but it can also be the last. So with this idea in-mind, your business objectives have to be clearly defined with the user-experience supporting them.
Business & User Objectives
When They Align
In design strategy there are two types of categories of objectives: “business” and “user”. A user’s objectives are what they come to a site with hoping to accomplish. Business objectives are what a company is hoping the user will accomplish. These should align because if a company initially understands what their customer’s needs are and how these are communicated, then their objectives will align with what the user has come to the website for. At Galvin, we help companies understand what those goals are and how to design for them.
When They Don’t Align
Your customers are an essential part of your company. Why wouldn’t you tailor your website’s experience to make them happy? Unfortunately, situations always arise that force the design to move in favor of the business objectives over the user’s objectives. A good example here are ads. Many clients come to Galvin asking about ad placement and how we can layout their site to include ads to help generate revenue. Often this content opposes what users come to the website for. So there in lies a user-experience decision: to design for the business or design for the customer. Most of the time it will be a compromise. The question companies need to ask themselves is, “are putting these ads here going to turn away our users?” In some cases they will, but we would devise the best strategy on how to place them so they don’t directly interfere with the user-experience.
Galvin goes through a discovery period where we discuss the company’s business objectives with them to create a feature list, or “Business Rules”, to pinpoint what the website requires to fulfill these. When we have these business rules defined, the user-experience designer can create an optimal layout and tools for these rules to work.
Wireframes Are Essential
Creating a hierarchy is usually where we start to define a solid user-experience. With UX strategy, we place a level of importance on these business objectives and apply design skills to create a wireframe. The wireframe is the foundation for which the business rules and the user-experience will stand on. The wireframes give us:
1. Primary & secondary user paths
2. Content preparation and idea generation
3. Functional and technical requirements
4. User interface on different platforms
UX Is Not Art
After wireframes are complete we use aesthetic qualities of the brand to enhance the overall tone and create the final experience. All of these steps come together to support what a company’s business objectives are from their core. Without this work, the website is just design.
All websites have user goals and business goals. It takes a clear understanding of a company’s services and marketplace to understand what these are. With this knowledge, we can define objectives, layout the user interface and design the overall user-experience to ensure a return on their investment.