It all starts here. Everything we do—from web design to development, from content management to analytics and SEO—is all about creating the best possible experience for the people using your site. And for the people who maintain and update your site, too.
We started building usable websites and teaching usability over 25 years ago, and our passion for user-centric design has only grown.
User personas are realistic profiles of people (fictional or real) that represent a significant number of a site’s users. We use these to help us understand the needs, goals, and limitations of different types of users on a site. They also help us think and communicate about user needs and goals in a more personal way. “Actually, I think Sarah the college student would probably love a chance to share her feedback on that page.”
User personas may be simple composites of actual users or the result of extensive research into a site’s audience, depending on the depth of understanding needed for a particular project.
A user story is a short description of a user and a specific need of theirs. It answers who, what, and why. Often written in the format “As a… I want… So that…”, as in this example:
As a wine reviewer, I want to get detailed information about the appellation a specific vintage was grown in, so that I can write a better review.
We use these stories in the planning and design phases of a project, as well as later on when defining and developing new features.
IA is the art and science of organizing and labeling the structure and hierarchy of a website. This can involve answering questions about navigation, page flow, SEO, CTAs, labeling and taxonomy, internationalization, localization, and much more. Typically this work produces sitemaps, user flows, wireframes, and/or interactive mockups. Together, these will act as a blueprint for the visual design and a functional specification for development of the site.
Usability research can take many forms, from informal heuristic analysis, to café testing, to prototype walkthroughs, to in-depth user interviews and research. But the goal is always the same: to understand what users need, and how they will use your site, so that we can craft the most effective, usable site possible.