website redesigned

For some time I've been noticing that some websites are getting makeovers (redesign) and that to me is promising; especially during these unfavorable economical times. Unfortunately for those redesigned websites, it looks like no one is following any form of Web design evaluation and/or in depth analysis—plus I wondered if there was a business requirement plan or a creative/designer brief involved in the first place. The few websites that I visited could use a Heuristic Evaluation. Did someone forget to suggest that before launching that redesigned website?

Here's something to consider, ask your Web development team if they are planning on evaluating your website with the following guidelines:

  1. Simple and natural dialogue
  2. Speak the user's language
  3. Minimize the user's memory load
  4. Consistency
  5. Feedback
  6. Clearly marked exits
  7. Shortcuts
  8. Good error messages
  9. Prevent errors
  10. Help and documentation

Ask them where this list comes from, and who created the 10 guidelines?

If your Web developer/designer does not know the answers to these questions then chances are that he did not put much thought into your website, studied previously on web design or have the experience on web design. For now, if your website was recently developed, you can make some final tweaks to better enhance the customer experiences. Here are a few guidelines:

Usability Inspection A usability inspection involves a user interface designer sitting down at a desk and evaluating the user interface of a website based on general design principles or specific lists of guidelines. A group of designers can inspect the site independently and then combine notes to obtain a comprehensive list of problems with the site.

Group walkthrough In a group walkthrough, a group of stakeholders in the design gets together and walks through common tasks on the website. At each step of the task, the group identifies any issues in the design and tracks fixes that need to be made. This is very similar to a usability inspection except that it is task-oriented, and it often involves nondesigner (other people might include managers, programmers, writers, client reps, salespeople, marketing specialists, customer support staff, users, and union reps).

User Testing User testing involves observing users performing specific activities with your website to identify what problems they have as they use the site. User testing is one of the most popular of all usability methods because it is relatively inexpensive and it identifies extremely specific problems. Since users are involved and actually performing the task) rather than simply stating opinions), you can have relatively high confidence in the results, and surprising problems are almost always found that wouldn't have been identified by other means.

Next time you decide to redesign your website, contact me (http://www.linkedin.com/in/studiodino) to create a blueprint before you build, it will save you and your customers time and money.