Knowing that 63% of people do research online before making purchase decisions, websites are an important part of your marketing strategy. A website should be considered an extension of your sales team. When it is done right, the site is informative, useful and is a positive reflection of your brand. It must amount to more than a series of superficial interactions and fancy animations. People who visit your site bring expectations and intent. In fact, 96% of B2B buyers want content with more input from industry thought leaders. They want to hear from you. By offering great content, at the right moment in time, you have the opportunity to convert a potential customer to a raving fan. So, how do we make a website that delivers an excellent experience? It's as simple as map, make and measure.
This provides the business context for the website. We determine the project's stakeholders using a RACI model to identify roles and responsibilities. Everyone who has an interest in the success or failure of the project should be accounted for. This includes: clients, management, tech support and regulatory bodies. Next, we identify the vision for the website. The vision should forecast 2-5 years in the future. It shouldn't rely on a specific technology or implementation. Technology changes at a rapid pace, our project's vision can't depend on something in a constant state of evolution. The resulting vision statement should be a few overarching sentences about what we want to be. The vision should out-live the website. This gives our team a design target that we can use to ensure forward progression. Now we need to segment the market so we can identify a target that will become the focus of our design solution.
Now that we know who we are targeting, we need to learn as much as possible about them. This starts with an informed description that manifest as user profiles, a set of personas that describe the goals and behaviors of the key user groups. Then, we'll create environment profiles, descriptions of the social, technical and physical environment within which the site will be used. Finally, we identify key user journeys. A key user journey is a list of the critical tasks that user needs to easily carry out for the website to be a success.
The website's success will be evaluated by key performance indicators (KPIs) and UX metrics. KPIs are developed by setting quantitative measures, based on key customer and business requirements. UX metrics will guide the site's design. Together they will tell us when the site is ready to deploy. Armed with our research, KPIs and UX metrics, we write a creative brief. All key decision makers agree to the brief's content. Now the team responsible for executing the work begins. An information architecture is created. This is a a high-level, conceptual model of the website, showing how all of the site's functions and features will hang together. The creative brief serves as a lighthouse to the team. Sketches move into wireframes, then to interactive prototypes. Web developers work closely with UX designers, UI designers, copy writers and art directors to craft the experience. The back-end code, third party integrations and content management systems are integrated as well.
To test the website's usability we ask potential customers to carry out realistic tasks. The findings may require adjustments to the experience. We also have peer experts review the site to ensure the user's experience will be delightful. Now we are ready to deploy the newly made website. This isn't the end of the project, some consider this the beginning. It's important to track real-world usage. We do this by monitoring how people use the website. These insights drive optimization and improvement to the overall experience in the next release of the website.
Our web development process is based on the International Standard ISO 9241-210: Human-centred design for interactive systems. We've found it works well with an engaged client partner that is passionate about their work and invested in the success of the project. We love what we do and would be happy to discuss your project to see if it's a good fit.