Making User Experience a Priority
When it comes to designing websites the most significant tension is not what most clients would expect. Finding the perfect combination of fonts - not a problem. Incorporating a stunning color palette - easy. Working with custom code, integrating a third party feature or organizing a robust content system - bring it on. Striking a balance between user experience and the needs of the client when it comes to ongoing website upkeep - surprisingly tricky.
Understanding the push and pull that happens when it comes to this topic can be challenging as well. What do we mean when we talk about making user experience a priority? Moreover, why does something have to give when we’re confronted with a challenge between the needs of our visitors to have a pleasant time on our websites and our own need to make things easy to take care of behind the scenes? Ultimately, when it comes to user experience, why can’t we have our cake and eat it too?
Before we jump into how to make user experience a priority, we have to understand that the way most people talk about web design is fundamentally wrong. We talk about users and visitors (i.e., your potential clients and customers) as the only demographic we’re designing for or the only ones who’s experience matters on your site. And this isn’t really true. In reality, websites are as much for us (i.e., the business owners and employees) as they are for them. Website structure is often very strongly linked to the physical systems used in your office or place of work. Sure, we want the client-facing portion to be appealing and intuitive but we also strive to create organized and robust back-end features that make managing your site less intimidating then it may have once been. This is where the tension begins.