User-centered design is at the core of everything we do at IntegrityXD. When solving any complex business, web design, digital marketing or web application problem, starting with your users is essential to finding the most elegant solution that will achieve measurable outcomes.
So, who are “users?” Everyone who touches the business, really. Multiple types of customers, end-users, employees - heck, even the business itself, needs to be considered. Over the last few decades, our team has refined our tools and processes to identify and map the key relationships that can underpin any successful program. Which user definition and mapping method we use varies on the project type and client goals, but the three basic tools we use the most are:
Personas are fictional characters, which you create based on research to represent different user types that use your service, product, website, etc. Defining unique personas will help you understand your users' needs, experiences, behaviors and goals.
User stories are an informal, general explanation of a workflow or experience written from the perspective of the end-user or consumer. The purpose of a user story is to articulate the interaction between a user and a proposed solution.
Journey maps are visualizations of the process users go through to accomplish a goal. These are often non linear and multi stage timelines that are unique per user type. Once defined and applied to a timeline, additional user context can be applied that gives insight into what a user is thinking, feeling and doing at each step along the way. Armed with these insights, a product team can easily ideate possible new solutions to support their users along the path to a successful goal completion.
With this information, you will know (and have organizational consensus around) who your users are, what they want, when they want it, and why it matters. This context and clarity is essential to identifying new tools or processes to support a user along the (often non-linear) path a user takes to complete a task or solve a problem. Remember, your goal isn't to build another application or spend money on a campaign - its to achieve specific goals for specific humans that will tangibly impact your business.
Large or small, if you are thinking about a new website, marketing campaign, web application, or pretty much any important business decision, always begin with your users. If you could benefit from an outside perspective, the Integrity team of user experience experts would be happy to assist. We do it every day.
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