How do you know if a change to your website is really necessary? Web usability as a source of information

Fernando Maciá

Written by Fernando Maciá

You are probably among the many people who are considering redesigning their Internet site, or at least having doubts about whether the one you currently have really meets your objectives and minimum usability principles.

The process for determining actual redesign needs

Perform a heuristic analysis.

We refer to a tool that allows us to determine whether the principles of effective navigability and the consumer marketing vision have been applied to the structure and content of the site. If the results show that it meets most of the principles, it probably requires only minor adjustment and not a total redesign. If not, proceed to the next step.

2. Apply persuasive architecture.

We refer to the development of the information architecture of the “new” site, applying the wireframe technique, to achieve pre-established effectiveness objectives, incorporating the results of the heuristic analysis. It is the skeleton of the site (sections, sub-sections, navigability and content, without considering the design), which allows the user to get the required information, or close a transaction, in the easiest possible way, generating a positive experience in each visit.

3. Use design as a tool to support communication.

The important thing about a site is the content and navigability. When involving the designer, be sure to define your objective as highlighting the information and navigability developed in the previous phase.

4. Programming, the last phase.

Only after the previous stages have been completed will programming begin. But beware, this does not mean that only at that moment you are involving the systems personnel in the process. All participants in the project form a team that will be present at every stage of development from day one.

How to select the company that will carry out the redesign?

1. Find out which development technique they use.

We recommend selecting a company that applies User Centered Design. In any case, require a presentation on the technique you are using and how it has been applied in other projects.

2. Research your usability knowledge

Make sure they are familiar with this concept. Find out what studies they have done previously and above all, browse some of the websites developed by the company. At this stage, do not pay attention to the content, design or wording. At the end evaluate your experience in this process: has it been positive or not? What level of satisfaction did you achieve on a score from 1 to 10? Do all Internet conventions apply?

3. Be clear on how to develop the architecture of a web site.

At what point in the development process do you start working on the architecture? See concrete examples

of architectures and documents used. If you do not use wireframe, what technique do you use?

4. Analyze content generation and writing skills.

Enter other websites developed by the company under consideration and ask yourself the following questions:

– What level of interest does the content generate for the user?
– Is the writing technique for scanning reading applied?

5. As for design, does it support communication or is it just “art”?

Design does not have to dominate over content. You have to support it. Find out from your potential supplier’s websites if the text is easy to read and if the key points of the communication are actually the ones that are highlighted. Find out in which cases they recommend flash and why, and if they are used to working with wireframes.

6. Programming

When selecting your supplier, you should take into account the technology platform on which you work. If your company has defined the technology for development, you should select a vendor that provides the same technology. If not, you should select the technology that will provide an efficient and effective solution, i.e., a quality product in the shortest possible time. On the other hand, the final product must be easy to maintain.

Although in the past it was normal to hire a company to do all the development of a website, today the situation has changed. Specialization has been developed in the following areas: usability, user-based development, architecture, content and copywriting, design and programming.

It is highly unlikely that a company today is a specialist in all of these areas.

Make sure you know your supplier’s strengths and weaknesses and reinforce the latter. Otherwise you will end up with a page, perhaps “prettier” than the previous one, but with many of the same problems you wanted to solve with the redesign.



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Fernando Maciá
Fernando Maciá
Founder and CEO of Human Level. Expert SEO consultant with more than 20 years of experience. He has been a professor at numerous universities and business schools, and director of the Master in Professional SEO and SEM and the Advanced SEO Course at KSchool. Author of a dozen books on SEO and digital marketing.

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