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Where to start when planning a UX driven website

  • by Upp B2B
  • 12th May 2017
    • Brand Building, Web and Digital

Following on from our recent ‘What is User Experience’ blog we’re now going to take a closer look at the approach to planning a UX focused website…

Why do I need a UX driven website?

You can of course start designing and building your new website, but how do you know that it’s going to provide a clear ROI? Do you have a clear understanding of the audience profile and their relative goals and objectives? You may well have a good idea if you have solid understanding of your customer personas but there is still an element of opinion and conjecture with this approach. This can be particularly dangerous if you have a wide and varied stakeholder group with each stakeholder offering a differing opinion on what your new website must do. This is where an insight-led UX driven website strategy pays dividends.

The key components of a successful UX strategy

A good UX process should be centered around an interactive workshop with a varied stakeholder group. It can, however, be difficult to collect all insights required in a single workshop so we recommend breaking the UX process up into three key stages:

1) Pre-workshop homework

2) The workshop

3) The UX strategy

 

1) Pre-workshop homework

In order to maximise the time available on the day of the workshop we recommend setting tasks for both the client and the agency to complete before presenting findings back to the group at the workshop.

Task 1.1: User personas

All stakeholders should undertake an instruction-led user-persona exercise to help gain an understanding of who visits the website and what they may be looking to achieve from their visit. This then forms the basis of a ‘user stories’ exercise, which should be completed at the workshop.

Task 1.2: Competitor landscape

It’s good practice to look at your competitors’ digital presence and then go on to review and rate their websites on several key factors such as overall quality, User Experience (UX), technology stack and design. The results of the exercise should then be reviewed at the workshop along with a discussion based around ‘desirable’ sites outside of your own sector.

Task 1.3: Analytics review

Google Analytics is a goldmine and should be used to review the journeys that your visitors are currently undertaking, it will also identify which browsers and devices are being used to access the current site as well as providing an indication of current goal conversion rates (if set).

 

2) The workshop

Put some time aside to review the pre-workshop tasks before continuing with the workshop exercises to help define the functional requirements, information architecture and content hierarchy.

Task 2.1: Functional requirements

This exercise helps define the functionality that will aid users to complete their goals. It’s recommended that you go through each of the following core categories to shortlist a set of functional requirements.

  • Content e.g. Blog, whitepaper downloads, FAQs
  • Media e.g. Video, audio, bespoke photography, infographics
  • Interaction e.g. Advanced search, Google maps, Live chat, bespoke web apps
  • Integrations e.g. CRM, Marketing automation, API’s, events calendars
  • Trust signals e.g. Accreditations, testimonials, case studies, associations
  • Data capture e.g. Contact forms, newsletter sign-ups, surveys
  • Navigation e.g. Dropdown menus, slide-out menus, mobile menus
  • Users e.g. User accounts, login, login with Facebook, user dashboards
Task 2.2: Information architecture

A card sorting exercise is a great way to help form the basis of a new IA/sitemap and identify content requirements. When working with complex stakeholders, card sorting can help galvanise opposing ideas and create a positive team-building environment where all parties ‘buy-in’ to the project.

 Task 2.3: Content hierarchy

Following on from the card sort it’s good practice to identify and rank content elements based on priority order to help start the wireframing process. Once you’ve prioritised full site content you can then perform ranking exercises for each core pages identified from the card sort e.g. landing page, contact page, blog pages etc.

3) The UX strategy

Following the workshop, you can then go on to review the outcome of each exercise and produce a UX strategy inclusive of persona types and key user stories, the recommended technology stack and browser support. You should also have everything you need to produce a functional requirements list, a technical specification, a sitemap and a content matrix. Each of these combined will stand you in good stead to produce a high-performing website.

Who’s next?

Upp B2B are experts in planning and delivering UX focused websites. We can offer a full end-end website development project or a one-off UX strategy for those clients who have development teams in-house. If you would like to discuss options get in touch for an informal chat.