The users are the key to success
It’s not enough to create interactive designs based on general opinions of what is attractive or modern or cool. The user’s needs in relation to your specific business are the key to success on the web.
Sofie Larsson, a 36-year-old mother of two, likes the design of the Glamour magazine’s website: glamour.se. However, she would balk at the idea of her internet bank using the same design.
How can we know this? Sofie is always Sofie, after all. Well, we know because we are used to developing websites from the perspective of user requirements. Sofie’s needs and preferences regarding the web vary, depending on what she wants to do, why she wants to do it and how long she wants to keep doing it.
The problem is that we normally only have traditional target group descriptions to work from for web strategy, concept and design. For example, we can have a target group consisting of women from 30 to 45 who live in cities and are interested in fashion. This is not enough, however – it’s too abstract.
When the picture of users and their needs is blurred this leaves room for assumptions, which results in most websites being created based on the project members’ own wishes and opinions rather than on the needs of the users.
The solution to this dilemma is a well-established method to analyze user needs: user profiles (personas). Sofie Larsson is one such user, an archetype based on specific target groups. She helps us to think like a user rather than a provider, and she helps us keep our process pointing in the right direction.
The strength of user profiles is not that they are statistically guaranteed, but rather that they make a complex world a little simpler. If Sofie thinks that a website is attractive and simple to use, this increases the chances of Fredrik and Anna liking it too.
Four steps to a more profitable web
The development of user profiles is an important part of the working method that we use to develop effective web solutions. This method is composed of four steps resulting in a prototype solution that says more than a hundred thousand words in a written specification.
This method kick-starts the production of a new web project, whether it’s a traditional website, a community, an e-commerce solution, a customer portal or an intranet.
For more information about user profiles and prototype development, please contact us.