5 Website Designs that Keep Users Coming Back

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Now that I’ve given you an introduction to User Experience Design (UXD) is and the qualities that a User Experience Designer should have, in my previous posts, it’s time to examine setting up a User Experience Design project. Where better to start than with building a website? This is a general goal of most startups, and it’s helpful for both the startup and the user experience designer to think about the specific goals that should be addressed based on the type of website.

As with any project, there are challenges. In a UXD project, most of these challenges and goals will focus on features and functionalities. To understand what site features to develop, you must first determine what kind of role your company plays.

Here is a quick overview of some of the basic types of websites and the relevant goals for each type.

1. Brand-Building sites

This type of site describes companies that want to maintain a constant relationship with their consumers and potential consumers. A brand is not just about the logo; it's about the entire experience a customer forms with a particular company, from viewing to buying and getting support.

Your Goals:

  • Communicate the brand's message by offering a seamless online experience that drives the users to continue further
  • Provide company contact information
  • Provide information about a certain product/service and make it easy to find.
  • Help the company increase unique visitors and referrals

2. Marketing campaign sites

As users, we often see ads online that take us to a Facebook tab, or a website where our actions are tracked and recorded for certain internal goals, such as sales or conversions, whether we know It or not. If your company is marketing or selling items, these will be your goals as a designer: bringing in new users, measuring their interaction with your brand, and converting their views to sales.

Your Goals:

  • Generate interest (special promotions, unique messages). Whatever you use to draw new viewers, please stay away from clichés like "The First,” “The Best,” The Ninja of”…
  • Create Conversions: get the users to sign up on the site and download an application or purchase goods; converting views to sales.
  • Aggregate Content: you may want to create or aggregate content demonstrating what you are selling, including video, news, articles, or even recommending books on products.

3. Task oriented sites
This is a type of sites that users go to perform a series of tasks or accomplish certain goals. Examples include online editors, online apps, calculators, and project management sites.

Goals:

  • Enable users to do certain tasks (e.g. as Google Calendar and Google Docs do)
  • Provide easy, understandable instructions for how the site works.
  • Offer advanced functions for advanced users.

4. Content aggregators

These sites provide articles, tutorials, videos, and media that either inform or entertain users. The site could be a news site, an online library, a video sharing site, or even a company’s intranet.

Goals:

  • Display the content to engage and draw the users to explore even deeper.
  • Offer easy ways to find the content (search engines, categorization, tagging…)
  • Aggregate the content in a simple manner that will reach most users.

5. E-commerce sites

The idea here is plain and simple: these sites sell items online. I’ve separated it from marketing campaign sites, because the relevant goals here are a bit more specific.

Goals:

  • Explicitly show how the site works. Amazon.com is different from Gonabit.com, which is different from souq.com; all are e-commerce, but each has a different model.
  • Provide helpful and relevant content and features (for example, comparison tools or item reviews)
  • Offer cross-selling or up-selling without being invasive, in a smart manner. One example is having a section that says “a customer who bought this also bought these other items.”
  • Build an easy, hassle free checkout process.
  • Offer follow-up tools, such as shipping, tracking, and order status.

These are brief examples of goals that you will need to address when working on the user experience for different types of websites.  Some of these goals may seem obvious, but orienting to them and clarifying your company’s goals in the process will maximize your effectiveness as a designer or entrepreneur.

If you need more information on any of these points, please also contact me and I will be glad to elaborate even more. Until my next post, enjoy diving into the different roles you might need to play in different projects.

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