When conceptualizing a website, it’s easy for business owners or designers to start with what they think is important. They may start with a home page, then move on to sketching web pages. That may be a good place for the creative process to start, but what about the user? To make a website truly functional, it’s important for its creator to think like its users.

When designing a website experience for the user, the concept of “flow” is important.

 

The first step: examine the user’s objective versus the businesses’ goals.

Why is someone coming to your website? Naturally, that depends on the business or service that’s being offered. For example, if you have a website that offers a retail shop, first-time visitors come seeking information about new products. Second-time visitors may want to make a purchase or ask a question. Or, if a visitor has made a purchase, they may want to return the product.

What are your goals for the website? How do you want it to function for the user? For the retail website, it’s to provide information on a product that the visitor will want. Once the website visitor has decided to buy, the process for the purchase should be simple and seamless. And if the website user comes back with a product return, that experience should be proactive and positive on the website.

Next: look at where a user arrives on your site. How did they get there? Here’s how most website visitors access a site for the first time:

–Organic search: from search engines like Google

–Social media: promoted posts on Facebook Newsfeed, “follow” suggestions from the platform

–Paid ads: either on social media or other sites

–Referral sites: a website that links to another site via a blog or an outside link

–Direct traffic: word-of-mouth recommendations from a user’s friends or co-workers

–Emails: signups from email lists

For each of these access points, there is a specific landing point. For example, if someone were accessing your site from a paid ad that references a specific offering or product, the logical landing page for the user would be that product’s page. An organic search could lead to the home page. Social media posts can lead traffic to a blog post. Ask yourself or your design team: are we selling a product or solving a problem. or is the user seeking general information?

Finally: design a strategy for your website users.

Once you or your website team decides why a user is coming to your site, how the user gets there, and where you want them to land on your site, it’s time to strategize. The “flow” of a user’s website experience is what leads them through your site. Good designers may even manually sketch out how this “flow” moves from page to page, and then transfer the process to digital design.

Ready to make your website’s “user flow” a more positive experience? Our designers are expert at making a website work for you and your visitors. Learn more on our own site, or visit us on Facebook or LinkedIn to learn more.

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