Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Establish a user driven culture

Jane McConnell has published a great article on the importance of user logic in developing large site structures.

To add to this user logic should be fundamental in all aspects of web or intranet design, content and management.

One of my ongoing battles is with content 'producers' who fail to see the logic behind writing for users rather than writing something for themselves, or their managers, and that a silo mentality is bad for the site, bad for the organisation, bad for the user and bad for themselves. Just plain bad.

If you aren't focused towards your users then you are failing to reach the full potential of what you are doing.

Sure it can't all be done at once but establishing a 'User driven culture' with those who work on and contribute to your site is important. It can include formalised usability testing and card-sorting exercises or just constant user advocacy in everything you do.

Ask 'will our users understand this" everytime something new is developed or published and continue to educate the organisation in the importance of user focus.

As an organisation's key user advocate you should fight for them. Become the unsung champion of the poor abused user, the 'Che Guevara' of your organisation's online culture. You may not win too many friends within some quarters but your users will appreciate your efforts, acknowledged or not.

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