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Designing a website

Step 1 - Planning your site

 Comprehending the conduct of users

Our research on users has been very much theoretical so far. We’ve come up with an analytical representation of our users and developed fictional characters to symbolize them. We’ve discussed with users with respect to their desires and requirements. That’s fine and superior, but the thing that you require to know in actuality the way they are going to use your site-if they do.


Study of the traffic
An excellent way to comprehend the conduct of user (which is also the best way to know about users) is by observing the way they really use your site. For what length of time are they glued to your site? In which areas do they click? Do they buy anything? Find out the crucial features. These are some of the things known only by your traffic log.
With the help of traffic logs, you can have a lot of information on who your users are and the way they communicate with your site. Traffic examination can let you know the way they reached your site (whether it’s from a search engine, through a link etc), the duration for which they remained in your site, the places they clicked and the chosen features or pages.
Traffic examination along with usability testing function side by side to let you know the way your site is used.
Log files can also show “user clues”-indications on who they are or where they come from-like their host domains (i.e. intel.com, Stanford.edu), when they visit your site and even their computer systems and browsers.
Traffic examination and usability testing function concurrently to shed light on the potential loopholes of your site (this is an incredible success). Examination of traffic shows facts, but can lead to more questions than the answers. For instance, your log files may show that 90% of users get out your site just after seeing the first page. However, logs will fail to find an answer for this. Is the site excessively slow? Is it not working? Is the design puzzling? Did users arrive at your site accidentally? What?! Usability tests try to find answers to such questions by telling something about the thinking of the user during a common session.


Instruments for comprehending the conduct of users

  •  With the help of traffic analysis, you can see the way users use your site actually: The place where they come from, their duration of their stay and the features they use.
  • With usability testing, you can recognize the problems faced by visitors when trying to use your site or any of its features.
  • Customer feedback reveals particular complaints faced by users if any.

Usability testing
Usability testing provides an opportunity to have a look at the way real users use your site in a method that enhances the real user experience while creating room for questions. Are they able to comprehend what the labels indicate, where the links guide them, what the functions of the buttons are? Does the interface function as anticipated? Are they able to successfully complete an assigned task?
There is nothing strong or informative as observing actual users grinding out with your interface. They will of course struggle. Irrespective of the quality of your initial design or the incredible talent possessed by your design team, some features of your interface, such as the navigation system, the labels, and the arrangement of events will possibly puzzle your users.
Bill Gates once famously said, "Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning."
If you present your site to your users in the premature stages of the design process, you can get hold of important problems quite early and rectify them. Usability testing sometimes results in deep rooted problems. You may find out problems associated to the functionality of your site or imaginative framework that pressurize you to give a rethought to your approach.
Give a ear to what they have to tell you. Feedback from your customer is the most straightforward approach to get to the brains of your users.
This is why the greatest obliging act you can do for your visitors and your product team is to make usability testing an integral part of each step of the design process. You should start off testing immediately on obtaining the model on paper-only the outlines of the interface, and carry on testing till the completion of the site. Carry out test much ahead and frequently (a minimum of twice before you introduce). This is the most superior technique to get hold of errors and avoid a user accident.
This might appear complex and costly, but such is not always the case. The fascination of usability testing is that it can accommodate in any financial plan. It’s undoubtedly a fact to have an excellent usability lab and a recruiting and testing staff on a full time basis. However, usability testing can be carried out in a capable manner with a camcorder, a tester used on a part-time basis, and a small financial plan to make up for volunteers.
The site can also be tested with friends and family members. Steve Krug, usability expert states in Don’t Make Me Think that testing a single user is totally better than testing none and adds that testing one user in the premature stage of the process is superior than testing fifty after the project undergoes completion.


Feedback from the customer
The ultimate hint on comprehending the conduct of the user is also the clearest one: Give a ear to what they have to tell you. Feedback from the customer-email, phone calls or real letters are the ultimate path to the brains of users. It’s truthful, genuine and mainly full of enthusiasm. These are mentioned to you by the users themselves and are not answer to your queries.
Now remember that customer feedback is always negative. (Users will possibly inform you when they are irritated compared to when they are ecstatic. Hence it is not a perfect measurement of the complete sense of the user. However, it is an exact measurement of irritation among the user. You can securely make the assumption that every furious email you receive represents the experience of minimum 10 users. Out of these nine left in a state of anger without taking care to let you know you’d lost businesses with them.
This is why it’s crucial to pay focus upon what the irritable users have to say. Normally people won’t write about their ordinary disappointments, such as little puzzling design, a bit of disappointing features, and kind of slow pages. They will write only when something makes them mad.
This is why it’s vital to attach some kind of trust or assurance to these letters, even when they are written in an unpleasant manner. An intelligent manager will look at customer feedback as an important instrument for carrying out research along with an opportunity.
Feedback from the customers creates an opportunity for you to transform furious customers into faithful ones. These bad-humored letter writers are extremely outspoken, people full of life, who tell others what’s going on in their head. If you can convince them, you’ll have an extremely strong speaker.
One extra note on customer feedback. If you have an adequately big organization, and you’re in a significant position, it’s not difficult to be protected or hidden from the experience and responses of a real user. However, it’s imperative to expose yourself quite often. You have to comprehend: What puzzles your users? What are the things they like about your site? What do they dislike? What makes them angry? And what’s the reason behind it?


50 ways by which you can lose your users

  1. E-mail to your users informing them about a one-day sale, following which you unplug the serves making it impossible for anyone to get through.
  2. If users are to register before they enter your site-without any previews, indeed stay away from letting them know what you do.
  3. Deliver plenty of “rich-media” ads without testing them in the first place. See the computer of your user crash.
  4. Create cautiously an accommodating privacy policy after which you ignore it.
  5. Purchase servers that are slow.
  6. Fill out the screen of your customer with pop-up windows.
  7. Fill out the screen of your customer with pop-up windows that open more number of pop-ups each time you try closing one.
  8. If that fails, try pop-unders.
  9. Altering the location of the features on your site on a regular basis, this will guarantee typical customers never finding anything! For ever!
  10. Incorporate a new sophisticate JavaScript thingy each week. See the computer of your customer crashing.
  11. Include an audio soundtrack on your homepage. Don’t allow users to turn it off. This is excellent for people working in offices.
  12. Create specific links to pages that are absent. Hence all your visitors can see the perplexing server errors.
  13. Rearrange your site but fail to redirect to the new pages. None of your site’s links will function.
  14. Cancel all customized help pages. Replace them with server error messages that are beyond comprehension.
  15. Arrange your site’s pages in a new pop-up window. Ensure the new windows do not have either the “Back” button or the “Print” button. That’ll prevent them from getting fastened to you.
  16. Create absolutely irresistible content and shield it behind covertly defined links.
  17. Get rid of the underline from your entire link and keep their color similar to that of the text. Allow users to speculate on where to click.
  18. Alter the navigation system on each and every page. Since users are lazy, they’ll surrender shortly.
  19. Alter the name of your site and URL every month. This will make them confused.
  20.  Include a big image map instead of your home page, showing a lengthened visual personification for the sections of your site.
  21. Include an excellent Flash movie on your site’s pages.
  22. Still better, include the same Flash movie on all the pages of your site.
  23. Allow customers to place all their order and hand over their credit card to you, before letting them know that everything on your site is not immediately available.
  24. Recruit extremely irritable customer service representative.
  25. Request users to fill out a study. Make the survey ultimately lengthy-this is crucial. Ensure the “Submit” button doesn’t function.
  26. Reconstruct your front door with plenty of letters that are in the shape of a rainbow.
  27. Dismiss your copy editor. Allow the engineers and designers to write.
  28. Dismiss your designer. Design the site on your own according to your wishes.
  29. Impair site search. Hence every question will lead to “No matching results”.
  30. Still better, make the arrangement of site search random. Hence sneakers trying to carry out a search will get the message “last season's prom dresses”.
  31. Arrange Exit ads in pop-up windows as visitors exit your site. It’s a method of saying  “And STAY out”! in the online language.
  32. Arrange Exit ads when they leave your exit ads. Find out the number of windows you can open at once.
  33. Ensure that your text is very small and italicized.
  34. Incorporate plenty of links. I mean MANY!
  35. Attach a huge amount for shipping.
  36. Share email addresses of customers without taking their permission.
  37. See to it that your customer service slows down.
  38. Customer service? What is customer service?
  39. Make use of servers that are not safe for carrying out money transactions and tell your customers, “it’s at your own risk”.
  40. Never keep an exact list of stock. Attach a charge for products that are not there.
  41. Select analytical combinations of colors.
  42. Supply banner ads that declare “If this is flashing, you’ve won”!
  43. Send email to all your customers on a weekly basis. Still better-daily, only to let them know what you’ve been thinking of.
  44. Let users know that they can unsubscribe from your emails but ensure that they can’t.
  45. Include background images in dark colors to each and every page.
  46. Ensure that error messages emerge while checking out. Pressurize the customers to enter the information again each time such a thing happens.
  47. Design a gift portfolio, but don’t remember to note addresses of individuals receiving the gifts.
  48. Alter the options of nav bar on every page.
  49. Hide your contact details.
  50. Include more pop-ups.

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