Building web based products focused on the experience of a user improves your value to your customers.

Back in the day not many people gave two hoots about user experience.

People just aimed to put up an attractive website and that was it.

In fact it took quite a bit of years until developers understood how vital to its growth the whole concept of user experience was.

Now with an emerging culture shift and improve analytical software, businesses and Webmasters have no choice but to ensure that their users have an optimal experience when they visit a particular website.

Google's constant efforts towards being the topmost search engine that has resulted in the Internet being what it is. In fact if it wasn't for Google, we probably still would be using badly designed websites with Flash intros and keywords stuffed all over the place. However Google, with updates like the Penguin and the Panda is clearly aiming to punish those websites that do not meet its strict standards of quality content, keyword relevance, quick loading design and of course the overall user experience.

Think about it: When you first visit a website and find it difficult to use, do you stick around?

We can spend days discussing design, content and differences between CMS' but at the end of the day this is what it comes to - is your website easy to use for a customer?

Is there quality information available on your website which is relevant to the user's query?

Does your website work across different browsers and is professionally designed?

What overall value does it provide to a visitor?

Today, user experience design is widely seen as part of the web development process itself.

The principles of optimal user design have to be an integral part of the product development philosophy adopted by the website. Various user experience techniques and best practices need to maintain a balance with the principles of user experience design.

Techniques of good user experience design

  • Personas: Who are using your website? Number crunching and paper protyping can help solve usability problems from behind your desk but identifying personas of your users can really help broaden the focus of the design process.

    Creating personas is a key user centered technique so that website development teams can satisfy scenarios for the users you care most about.

  • Information Architecture: Design the IA of a website can help your users confidently navigate your website in order to satisfy their needs. Techniques such as card sorting, reverse card-sorting and analytics can help improve the logical taxonomy of your website.

  • Usability Testing: Did you know that almost 80% of a website's usability issues could be found by just interviewing 3 people? Usability testing is the fastest and easiest way to identify wheter your website can meed your user's needs.

    Scheduling a study and identifying key usability faults can help save time and money when getting a product out to market.

  • Creating Credibility: Communicating the value of your business to your users is key to success online. In traditional rhetoric the combination of logos, pathos and ethos help produce a framework to persuade other people.

    Ethos is the appeal of authority - the ability to communicate proof that information being communicated is validated and trustworthy for the user.

    Social Proof, Authority and other persuasive techniques help develop this trust from your users to your business.

  • Influencing Behaviour Patterns: Many of our decisions are made in fractions of a second. Mental shortcuts - referred to as hueristics - help our brain make simple assumptions based off a lifetime of experience.

    Influencing these triggers and leading users via a persuasive behaviour patterns can help achieve the business goals of website.

Besides the user that comes to your website also benefits massively from such strategically changes.

Any time you contemplate or commission a redesign you should always put yourself in the shoes of the user and judge whether the website is providing a good experience or not.

For example a quality website would have an appealing yet a fast loading design, highly intuitive navigation and most of all, a user should get to the information that they searched for in the least amount of time.

If your content is copied from elsewhere, and your drop-down menu a hurriedly assembled mess of links, then rest assured that your users would not appreciate it.