I recentally talked about my own personal change from merely creating scalible applications, towards a new thinking, that of delivering a good experience.
It sounds rather simple, but in actuality, takes a lot of effort to learn a whole new approach.
Here are the steps, I have subtly followed, and now hope to work with others to find the best standard.
1. Identify your true end user
There may be some struggle to help to identify who your end user is. Sometimes your boss thinks they are, and sometimes it's the hidden end user.
So you have to really examine who will be using the application you create
2. Identify the goals/objectives of your end users
Now, this sounds so complex, but in reality, most people, depending on the demographics of your end users, will have very simple goals or objectives.
Let's be clear hear, in my mind there are two really great, not perfect, sites that deliver great experiences. Amazon.com and Google.com, and why are they still so great? Because both sites, make it easy to find what you are looking, and don't get in the way of what you are really after. Sounds simple doesn't it?
Let's show you how they do their magic.
Amazon.com - Most people come there for either a specific product, or to browse, and amazon.com is designed for either in mind. They occassionally have advertizing for new departments or promotions, and that can sometimes get annoying but most of the time, it's easy to use.
Google.com - Sticks by a very simple interface, that focuses on you searching and even more importantly finding what you are looking for. They do not let, design get in the way of usability.
So, how do we carry this over to your own site?
I tend to generalize most sites into 2 types:
There may be more types, but they're not where the money is so far. I am not saying other types aren't important, but these are the main two types i know of, where there is a lot of confusion.
3. Avoding confusion between your/bosses goals and your end users goals
It's so easy to change the navigation, add new tools, or add more promos.
And this is behind the sad, bad mentality of the dot-com era, that new visitors will keep coming, and you don't have to do anything to get repeat customers.
So if you are in any doubt, look at how your competitors up and down the food chain, make it easy for the custoemrs to fulfill their goals.
And when you think your designing the site for your own needs, that's where you can really go down the tube, and you just have created a site no one would visit or use, other than yourself.
That's enough for now, more to come...Please share your own thoughts and ideas.