Website Foundations - User Types

Posted by Ryan Gittings

In my last article, I started talking about the role of the user in web design, and how we should be basing the site around them. This article is a follow up to that, explaining the thorough process I go through with each and every website and mobile application.

User Personas

When starting to design a website, before I even pickup my scrapbook, I do some research on the clients business. This research starts with me building user personas. For example, I am working on a project for St. Andrews Fashion, the most successful student run event in the UK. They come to me, and had an initial idea of what they wanted, which I adhered to. Though, I wanted to take it a step further, not take the easy option and just listen to what they wanted, but I wanted to make sure the site could be the best it can be, user experience wise.

So, with St. Andrews Fashion I started building user personas. Who is likely to be visiting the site? What sort of information are they wanting to find out. I identified these 3 types of user:

  • The new user - the user who has just heard about them, and want to find out information about them. This user needs convincing, and immediately I knew we needed to buildtrust.
  • The returning user - the user who may have been to an event before, or already know about them, and wanted to find out key information, such as when the event is.
  • The press - the corporate user who already knew about them, and wants to find out more information than the average user, but at the same time, doesn't want to be overwhelmed by content.

Content Design

Having done some user persona research, it makes my job much easier now when designing content. I made a list of content that needed to be included on the homepage, and gave it a hierarchy of importance.

  • About - having evaluated up all the user personas, I felt information about them needed to be right up there, as the first bulk of information they see..
  • Testimonials - The guys at St. Andrews were keen to get some big quotes in, from major press. I dedicated a section of immersive, interactive content full of testimonials, to really reinforce trust into the user, to show the user exactly how big they are, and literally make the user go 'wow'.

The User Interface

Having not designed any visuals until this point, I put all the planning into action. I was really pleased with the initial draft. I wanted to make sure the interface showcased everything that they are, classy, modern and huge.

Proven Success

I've been lucky enough to work on lots of really exciting projects, and I like to show the difference between me, and lots of other web designers. I go the extra mile, not only to make sure the process is smooth, and efficient, but the actual product is top draw, and the best it can possibly be.