User Centered Design for the Web

In a nutshell, User Centered Design is an approach in which the needs of the user define the basis of most, if not all, decision making when it comes to what your site will do and how. Our focus revolves around three main principles: task completion, lead generation and segmentation.

First and Foremost

Many thanks go out to Jesse James Garrett for his book The Elements of User Experience. It has provided a lot of guidance over the years and comes highly recommended – not only for web designers – but for small business owners, executive teams as well as marketing and sales managers. If you or the company you work for has a website, this is a must read!

Goal #1: Help Your Visitors Complete Tasks

The tasks for any website will vary widely depending on the type of organization and its internal and strategic goals. No matter what it is your business offers, the primary goal is to help people complete what they came to your site to do. Tasks could include:

  • Completing the check out process
  • Downloading literature for potential donors or investors
  • Finding information
  • Signing up for a newsletter
  • Sending a contact form
  • Registering for an upcoming event
  • Making a dinner reservation

A Word About Lead Generation

Typically, though not always, tasks should be oriented around measurable goals that generate actionable, qualified leads for your sales people to follow up on. As much as possible your site should ask for people to give you their information in exchange for something of value.

Goal #2: Create as many opportunities for conversion as possible. Learn more »


Traditional marketing splits audiences into demographics (age, gender, income) so that messages are more likely to resonate with the individual who reads it. Without a pile of cash for market research and focus groups, it is much easier to break your audience into groups and create focused, targeted campaigns rather than trying appeal to ‘everyone.’ This concept also applies to product and interface design.

Read more about how User Segmentation Leads to Higher Conversion