User-centric design -- when you design for your users -- focuses on the needs and wants of the user on every stage of the design process. The audience, purpose, and context are all filtered through the user’s experiences. Even the language is based on the user.
User-Centric: Design for Your Users
- Improves User Experiences – The right design will make your users want to come back to your website and keep using it. If they have good experiences with the language, navigation, and interaction on your website, they’ll come back again and again. Because they feel at home.
- Makes Users Feel Important – When a user picks up software or goes to a website, and sees that it’s made just for them (or feels as if it is), they feel important and it makes them want to tell other people. Since birds of a feather flock together, you’ll get visitors from their friends and their friends - thus getting a lot more users over time.
- Solves Problems for Users – A site or product that is designed just for a user solves some of their problems. Usually, it solves at least one specific problem. For example, what if your users don’t understand computers very much but they are learning. How would you solve that problem on your site? Would design for your users make the directions clearer?
- Content Speaks in Users’ Language – When a new user goes to your website and sees that you are speaking their language, using their terms, and really understand them, they’ll be excited. So many sites speak “at” users instead of to them. It will be a welcome change.
- Covers Whole Users’ Experience – No matter what type of website you have, if you look at everything that your user is going to do at your site you can make the design work so much better for them. Whether it’s interacting, commenting, downloading, signing up for an event or anything... if you look at it first from your users’ perspective, you’ll improve it.
- Keeps the Interface Usable for Users – It’s not a one-time fix. You need to keep studying your users, keep getting feedback and keep improving your website so that your website remains easy to use for your users. While a user’s demographics might not change, over time some aspects of their experience and values change. For example, in the early 90s most people did not know how to use the internet, and today they do.
- Ensures the Content of the Site Fits – Knowing your users helps you create all aspects of the content you need for your website (and your products too). You’ll use the keywords you learn from your users, you’ll use the problems you know they have, and you’ll use their behavior to make everything fit.
- Improves Conversion Rates – There's no doubt that user-centric design improves conversion rates, which in turn will improve your bottom line exponentially. The reason is that everything is made for them and will resonate for them.
Designing for your users first is imperative. Once you get the interface right for users, you can tweak the design to also meet search requirements. However, the first person that counts when you’re designing anything is who is going to use it, because if they don’t like it you'll have nothing.
See also: What Does User Centric SEO Mean?