Storytelling gives a deeper understanding of why things are the way they are. This article summarizes lessons learned from my experiences related to web concepts in 2011.
A great solution needs a real problem
Anyone can build a web site filled with content, nice pictures and buttons to click on. A great solution however needs a real problem. Ask yourself what business need or user pain point your concept will solve. Is your solution a painkiller for real? Will people feel they got the answer they were looking for after visiting your site? Visualize the underlying need to what you are fulfilling or you might end up building user friendly dead-ends.
Kill the darlings that steal your money
Candy is sweet but bad for your teeth. Just like misplaced content might be. Sometimes it is difficult to find a home for all your content. Instead of spending hours figuring out if the content will make the user experience better or worse, put up an A/B-test to find out which content that steals your money. Maybe some of it is best placed in the trash can?
Be feature sensitive
How will new features affect the user experience of your solution? Be feature sensitive and filter new functionality through your basic concept idea and your primary target group before deciding to implement them. As for me, I remember when Facebook was easy to use with its pleasing overview of what your friends were doing. Lately, I have the impression that too many features have moved in without adding value to the genuine user experience.
Save time for your visitors
Many people use the web to save time. What actions can you take to shorten the visit for your user? How can you provide them with quick answers online so they can focus on doing something else the rest of their valuable time? Loyalty comes with fulfilling a need. Facilitate the lives of your visitors’ and they’ll pay you back with a visit again.
Don’t overdose content out of context
Several websites seem to be flooded with news articles broadcasted to everyone and no one. When a visitor enters your website they are looking for an answer. Don’t overdose content out of context. It will distract your visitors where they don’t need it and make them frustrated not finding it where it should be. In the destination context your content will be meaningful to your visitors and therefore used.
No system on its own will be the answer to your prayers
Don’t forget the users behind the scene. It is important to anchor the building blocks of your concept with the editors and content workers early. Arrange meetups with people who have different approaches to content e.g. developers, interaction designers, editors, etc and create an iterative process of understanding, contributing ideas and giving feedback to each other with a common goal: To realize a sustainable solution engaging as many users as possible.