One of the most important first steps. It’s vital. Taking the time to understand what you want and what you need. Be clear on user experience and journeys, define the user interface, identify the key markets and users, understand the technology needs. Detail the goals and how you’re going to measure them. Make it easy to succeed.
Planning and scoping
User experience is the keystone of website development. How a user accesses, navigates and absorbs the content of your website is fundamental to its success. Ultimately, the user should get what they need from your website in the easiest, most accessible way – whether that’s for information purposes, to make a purchase or anything else in between.
By talking to you and evaluating your current site’s performance (if you have one), exploring competitor sites, and employing best practice models, the planning and scoping phase identifies all the necessary considerations for your website to serve its purpose.
This essential step provides a framework of how many pages might be needed, where the information can be pulled from, any additional functionality (e-commerce), and anything else that needs to be included to make your website work successfully.
Before we create creative concepts, we begin by sketching out the bare bones of the pages. Wireframes help map out the functionality, content and placement of elements on each page, exploring the hierarchy of information to aid the user journey.
What is the first thing your user will see? If you’re selling something, this will most likely take more prominence over your company news. This stage doesn’t delve into the look & feel, imagery or text, but provides a framework of where all these things will sit and how the pages link.
Wireframing ensures that all the functionality and necessary information (in its outline form) is taken into consideration. By working together, we can be sure that everything that should be there will be there, and will do what you need it to.
User Interface Design (UI)
Once the wireframes have been signed off, our designers focus on capturing your brand’s look & feel and translating that into a beautiful website or application. User Interface (UI) Design focuses on anticipating what your users might need to do and in what order, ensuring that the interface (look & feel) has elements that are easy to access, understand and use to achieve those actions. The UI considers all of these elements and how best to present them.
Let us create a solution for you that best handles your customers and user’s needs through clear, concise and effective design.
Information Architecture (IA)
Information architecture helps to define the prominence of information and the user’s journey to reach it. You may think your website has one purpose, but think again. Your main aim is of course to sell more products, but in order to do that you need to create an environment in which your customers want to return and do business with you again, recommend to their friends, sign up to newsletters or engage further with you.
IA is about understanding your users and knowing as much as possible about their goals, skills, preferences and tendencies to deliver for them. We present all of the information to do this in a clutter-free way, driving your users to key areas first and enabling them to do what they need to do, in the easiest way possible, promoting sales and increasing engagement. Let us get to know you and your customers to discover how we can help you.
User Experience Design (UX)
Have you ever looked at a website on your mobile and struggled to get to the right page because the menu is too small, or given up on a purchase because the images aren’t loading? User Experience Design makes sure that users can get to the content they are looking for in an intuitive and accessible way that functions as you would expect. It is centered around the user.
User Experience Design (UX) is often wrongly discussed as ‘User Interface Design (UI)’ or as ‘Usability’. Both of these are important parts of the design process but are not UX. UX covers the entire process of acquiring, integrating and experiencing all the different stages of a product or service lifecycle, including branding, design, usability and function.
We consider every stage – from initial intentions through to final flections after purchase, from first usage to help, service and maintenance to create a cohesive, integrated set of product or service experiences that work seamlessly together. Together we will determine the Why (motivations, values and views), What function and features) and How (accessibility and aesthetics) to create the best solution possible.
From the navigation to the size of the buttons on a small screen, UX sets out to make your user’s journey as smooth and pleasurable as possible.
Interaction Design (IxD)
Interaction Design (IxD) is the practice of designing interactive digital products, environments, systems and services. For example, mobile phones invite users to swipe, zoom, double-tap, pinch etc – all these interactions are often performed subconsciously, if they have been designed well or don’t if they have been forgotten or not included or considered. In relation to a website or application, Interaction Design refers to the cause and effect of navigation: click this button and this appears; swipe to see the next article etc. While the action/gesture may differ between devices, the result is the same: click/tap on an item to view more details.
Interaction design includes what could be thought of as ‘necessary’ and ‘purely aesthetic’ interactions: necessary actions go somewhere or to do something, aesthetic actions serve to further engage the user (a button may move on hover).
While everyone would like to have the greatest, most cutting-edge website as to be seen as being bleeding edge, it is not always necessary. Too many interactions or movements can have a negative effect, distracting the user from the original purpose rather than aiding the task. To Our expertise ensures that the design works both for your brand and your end users.
User Journey Road Maps
There are a number of pathways that lead someone to your website. It is important to understand how they got there and why. What are they looking for, and how can you guide them to it?
Maybe they searched for ‘designer in Cambridge’, their friend recommended you specifically, or they saw an advert and wanted to find out more about a specific item or service. Once on your website, they need to get to exactly where they want to go, quickly and efficiently. User Journeys provide high level details of exactly what steps different users take to complete a specific task within a system, application or website.
Navigation, information architecture, and interaction design play a key role in enabling them to do just that. User journey roadmaps clear any unnecessary hurdles to help them get there in the fewest steps.
Sometimes, people may not know quite what they’re looking for until they find it. We often use search engines to find a solution to a problem. One of our clients recognised that their users often found them by searching for a solution, while other users knew exactly which product they were looking for, so they tailored their navigation specifically. It is this knowledge and insight that allows us to add value to your business.
Use cases are flowcharts of how your website performs in response to the user’s actions. Use cases chart who is using the website, what they want to do (perhaps browse, in the first instance), their end goal (make a purchase), the steps they need to take, and how the website responds to an action (add to basket). It helps to brainstorm what could go wrong, so this can be anticipated and avoided at an early stage. Use cases also aid in establishing the cost and complexity of the system, helping to identify and potentially streamline functionality requirements in line with your budget constraints.