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Designing a website

Step 1 - Planning your site

Having an idea of your users

It’s crucial to gather as much information as possible about your users since the success of your site depends on what your users require, desire and do. Keeping a track on your users such as, recognizing them, expecting their requirements, studying their behavioral pattern and responding to their appeals, will help you to create a successful site any time you want.

However, keep in mind that you are not only gaining information about your users just to cater to the motive. All kinds of research on user should be oriented towards the objective of enhancing your site.

5 important questions while carrying out user research:

  1. Who are my users? Maintaining a profile of the users will allow you to develop your site keeping them in mind.
  2. How many users do I have? It is impossible to plan out an event without having an idea of how many individuals will be present. The same applies in the case of websites. The size of the users has an effect upon the expenses and the revenue.
  3. How will they access the internet? The internet is accessed by people in different ways, which all depends on the locality and equipment. If you are able to have an elaborate idea of their arrangement, you can build the site in a better way according to their requirements.
  4. What do they require? The fundamental point to know about your users is what they require or expect from you. By catering to an actual requirement, you build a reason for people to visit your site again.
  5. What are their activities? This is the ultimate thing that matters a lot. What do users do when they visit your site or what are their activities once they enter your site?

Finding answers to such questions is easy on the internet compared to other sectors. Carrying out surveys on the internet makes accumulation of data an easy affair. Also, traffic logs allow site owners to have an idea of how their site is used by visitors-the place they come from, their clicks, the length of time for which they are glued and their activities.

For instance, instead of taking the pain of asking visitors the things they admire about your site, or what they use and the frequency of usage, you can come up with a traffic report and get to see the results on your own. This cuts down your dependence on studies that are based on opinion, like focus groups.

Quantitative vs Qualitative research
There are numerous methods to have an idea about your users. You can carry out field studies, organize interviews and study the traffic patterns and carry out tests of usefulness.  Methods have been devised for every kind of financial plan and disposition. Each of these methods facilitates you to have an idea about the user.
You should know when to use these methods and the way of using them since there are numerous techniques. To have a basic idea, there are two types of research associated to the user. These are qualitative and quantitative.

Two types of research:

  • With the help of quantitative research, you can have nondiscriminatory and fathomable data-the type of information you’ll compile in a chart.
  • On the other hand qualitative research gives you personal assessments or impressions- the type of information you normally put in a sentence and not a chart.p


While coming up with a decision associated with the user you normally reach out for the quantitative data. You want to find out the existence of something that is specific on which you can have a strong base, like a traffic report that shows a particular feature is celebrated. It may also be some industry information which points out that other associated sites are well-known.
You turn to qualitative data when there is no quantitative proof. This can be feedback from the consumer or the results of focus groups that indicates the interest of a customer in a particular feature. You would, however, like to keep a track on the activities of the users and may not be interested in what they have to say.
With the help of quantitative data, you’ll be able to take a decision on what to do. Qualitative data allows you to have an idea on how to go about it.
Qualitative data is extremely crucial the moment you take a decision on introducing your site. It offers a way on penetrating the mind of the users. For example, think that you own banking site and you want to include a feature where bills can be paid. You need to go out and learn from your customers on how they pay their bills at present. After talking to a significant number of customers, you’ll have a fair idea of what your bill applications requires to do.
Quantitative data can facilitate you to take a decision on what needs to be done. On the other hand qualitative data can suggest you the means to do it.

Quantitative research has to be used in the following cases:

  • To have an idea of who your users are
  • To know how users use your site
  • To determine the most popular features
  • To judge the performance of new sites

Qualitative research has to be used in the following cases:

  • To have an idea of the way users achieve and plan out a task
  • To recognize the things where users get puzzled
  • To have an idea of how people view your site, brand or organization


A unique feature of the internet is the amount of quantitative information that is immediately available and the potential it has to structure the development of a site.

Some important points while carrying out user research:
Each step of site evolution has to go along with a session of user discovery. This will help you to have an idea of the things your users require.

Before you introduce your site, remember the following points:

  • Carry out a traffic or market study to validate the presence of consumer interest in the site you plan to launch.
  • Develop a profile of the user to recognize and elucidate the audience that is being targeted upon.
  • Assess the size of the target audience. This will help you to plan accordingly.
  • Talk to users on what they require from your site and how they go about it in its absence.

Points to note while you are designing your site:

  • Carry out usability tests to ensure your presumptions are correct and get hold of any mistakes missed by you at the point of interaction.
  • Analyze traffic logs to have an idea on how users are using your site. Where do they come from? For how long are they glued to the site? What features do these users use? Learn about their passage out of the site.

Following your launch-

  • Carry out usability tests to facilitate you to answer particular questions on the way your site is used. What’s the reason for users opting one course over another? Why do the exit?
  • Examine feedback from the customer to have an idea of what people think about your site and to recognize the elements that disappoints or angers them.
  • Carry out a user survey to have a deeper knowledge of your users and validate them according to who you think they are.




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