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As a programmer when building a website I am a terrible designer and normally do not account for the user experience side of the website. I am going to be building a new website and I'm wondering if there is a specific method people go through when planning a website out. I don't want to make the same mistake I always make.

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This is the whole point of UX design. There are various situations and thus various ways to plug in UX design in a project, but the most simple process would be:

  1. Analysis and Strategy

    • What are your users up for? What information they seek? Do they at all?
    • What are the project goals? What do you want to achieve?
    • How to make these two meet? (This is the proper strategical moment).
  2. UX design (and friends)

    Once you have strategy onboard, and you know what points to care for, what the gals are and how your users react, what they expect and how much they could be interested in your website, UX Designer should design the interface of your website. Typically, it touches two areas:

    • Information Architecture - which very basically tells what should be where in your website "tree".
    • UI design (not graphic, though) - which tells how the page layouts should be constructed to achieve best results having given goals, user actions and stuff.

    There are more you can plunge in, though. Expecially testing layouts, patterns etc. and improving based on gained knowledge.

    At this level you can choose if you should go e.g. MVP, because you can build a really simple website as a proof of concept and then go further. It depends on the project and organization how you will deal with this.

  3. Graphic design

    Knowing what should go where, you can now proceed with graphic design, which should continue and extend the look and feel intended in UX design.

  4. Development etc.

  5. Launch, observing and improving

    Based on gained information, especially from analytical systems, you can now trigger improvements. UX designer can help at this level, you can create A/B or MV versions of a site/page wo see which version or layout converts best.

Of course this is a very basic model how you can use UX, but I hope it will put a little more light on it.

  • Uh, I may be dense, but what do you mean by "Fogest"? It is not a word that I am familiar with and Google only brings up links that seems to have no bearing on the subject? – Marjan Venema Aug 16 '13 at 8:59
  • I've been wondering for a while, firstly thinking about autocorrect playing some tricks with me, to find out finally that this is the nick of the user who asked this question. But anyway, I have no idea how it appeared there, just in the beginning of my answer. Thanks for the info ;) – Dominik Oslizlo Aug 16 '13 at 11:45
  • LOL. Nice way to find out (again) that it never hurts to ask a question! – Marjan Venema Aug 16 '13 at 12:25
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To summarize the whole UX process for a new website design and development, I categorize it into three stages.

1. Need finding or Requirement Analysis: Starts prior to site design. It focuses on the investigating the need for website 'X', its users, competition, and targets.

  • Methods: Brainstorming between stakeholders, Marketing Reports, Competitor's website analysis, user research mostly based on qualitative methods ( Interviews, and focus groups) and Performance analysis of competition.

2. Formative UX Testing: This stage of UX testing goes along with the design and development phase, it includes multiples methods.

- Concept organization: Storyboards, Personas, Experience Maps

- Navigation and Flow: Card sorting and task analysis

- Detailed UI testing: Expert Reviews (task analysis,cognitive walk through), Observations, and Contextual Inquiry, Expectation and Experience subjective surveys

- Competitive and Benchmarking tests: A/B testing, Multivariate A/B/C testing, User Perception surveys

3. Summative UX Testing: Mostly at final stages. It includes:

  • Satisfaction and UX surveys

  • Subjective Evaluation ( Emotions, Engagement, Immersion, Effort, Cognitive Load etc)

  • In-depth biometric validation ( EEG, Eye-tracking, Facial expressions, Body sensors)

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if there is a specific method people go through when planning a website

No.

There are many way sites get built. It varies from project to project, team to team, org to org, and dev methodology to dev methodology.

But one way to be consistent with UX is to always be thinking about it regardless of any of the above. For every decision you make in the process of designing and building the site, ask how that will improve things for the user. Will it improve things? That's good UX. Will it not improve things? Maybe it's not a feature you need to be building.

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