User Centered Design
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User Centered Design (user-oriented design) is a concept in software development in which usability goals are given great attention in all stages of the design process. The user's needs, wishes, intentions and any limitations are taken into account during the conceptual and development processes.
Today, user-centered design is one of the most important paradigms in software development. The user-oriented design is used in a wide variety of software and applications. These applications should not only comply with international standards, but also ensure that an application is ergonomic in the best case.
Software ergonomics is about adapting an application to the needs of the end user, anticipating and satisfying the users’ needs. User centered design is one way to achieve this goal. The background for the User Centered Design and related paradigms is provided by the international standard EN ISO 9241, which is a standard of Human Computer Interaction. Important aspects directly related to the concept of User Centered Design include usability, user experience, accessibility and of course the users themselves.
The User Centered Design is divided into four phases, which represent basic processes in the development of software and applications. These phases are usually preceded by a project planning phase in order to guarantee a high degree of user orientation.
1. Analysis: First of all, the context of use is determined. Which characteristics does the user have? In which environment will the application be used? Which tasks does the user want to carry out with the software?
2. Design: The software requirements are then defined. This also involves demands on the organization of the development process. After all, the question of what the software has to do is a question that should be answered in the development process.
3. Implementation: First solutions are designed, tested and simulated. Prototypes and beta versions are the results, but they are still being tested - often several times in the entire development process until a version meets the requirements defined above.
4. Development: The solutions are checked for different characteristics and tested in the long term. Ongoing diagnostics and evaluation ensure that errors and unwanted program sequences are corrected and avoided.
All phases can occur several times in the development process. A good user-centered design is characterised by the fact that it anticipates all the user's needs and includes corresponding program sequences and exceptions as a finished product. For this reason, multivariate tests, AB-Testing or crowd sourcing tests can also be added to the final phase. The anticipation of possible errors has financial aspects, because the later errors are found in the software, the more expensive it becomes to eliminate them.
Significance for SEO
Essentially, everything that helps to increase the usability of a website is beneficial for search engine optimization. Google also places great importance on the usability of websites.
The concept of User Centered Design therefore meets the requirements of modern SEO, which is primarily focused on the needs of the user, and secondly on the requirements of search engines. Mobile Optimization is a good example of how user centered design and search engine optimization go hand in hand. Mobile device friendliness is now a ranking factor. This also shows how far user friendliness influences trends - the majority of users worldwide use smart phones for web searches in many areas today.
User Centered Design as a concept can promote search engine optimization in many areas. For example, the higher usability and better user experience can improve important KPIs such as bounce rate or dwell time.
In fact, the method of user-centered design goes far beyond the benefits for search engine optimization and affects other online marketing areas such as e-mail marketing or newsletter marketing, for example by making e-mails even more user-centered. In an even smaller area such as Conversion Optimization, user-oriented design can also play an important role, such as shopping basket optimization or Customer Journey optimization.