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Who Are Your Users?

Are your designs or processes ignoring some users and taking care of others? We frequently see organizations with this problem and it comes from defining the “user” too narrowly.

When you have a website, the user may be defined as a buyer, reader or site visitor. But if you take a step or two back you will find several users in the process that must be cared for with the same or higher level of diligence as that buyer. For example, take the t-shirt buyer. A site owner may focus much time and resources caring for that consumer. They adopt good credit card handling processes, secure pages, follow-up emails, newsletter delivery and opt-out procedures. Bravo on all counts, but who are the users?

  1. The Content Production Specialist
    • Is it simple and natural to create great content32?
  2. The Product Listing Manager
    • Is the system flexible enough to handle multiple images easily?
  3. The Newsletter Copywriter
    • Does this person have a nicely integrated process or a cumbersome one?
  4. The Buyer (that’s a given)
    • This users experience is degraded when users 1 – 3 have bad user experiences

The decision to ignore up-stream user interactions will be magnified at the level where it can be least tolerated – the buyer’s. Read why poor up-stream design decisions are more costly the further downstream their effects propagate.

Great user-interaction designers consider all users in a process, not just the end-user.

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