Designing for users

Posted on: 15 Aug 2016
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Design Disruptors

Design Disruptors

Inspired by the documentary ‘Design Disruptors’ I thought that I would share my thoughts on designing for users – and how important it is.

The likes of Facebook, Google, Etsy and many more big name digital products all agree the importance of really understanding your users of your products. As designers, if we’re not designing for users, then who are we designing for? There’s very little point in putting time and effort into designing something if the end users can’t use it properly or can’t achieve their initial purpose for coming to the site.

The ‘Why?’

Something that was mentioned in ‘Design Disruptors’ was asking why?

Why are we designing this?
Why would someone want to use it?
Who would use it? How would they use it?

All these questions are so important in the design process. Something that has become more and more apparent is how important user testing is also. Get early designs in front of users so you know if it is a design worth progressing.

People the world round

Having travelled a large part of the globe I’ve experienced so many different cultures and communicated with so many different people. I’ve also experienced a variety of internet speeds and different levels of understanding about technology. There are so many different age groups, different devices, different disabilities and impairments to consider when it comes to design.

One of the biggest fears I have, is that a lot of people don’t realise this when it comes to creating a website that is open to the public. You don’t have control over who will use it or where they will use it, or what device they will use it on. This means we really need to cater for as many people as possible, otherwise it’s almost like we’re discriminating (even if we don’t mean to).

We won’t ever be perfect because some colours we use may mean different things in different cultures. Different words and symbols could be misinterpreted. However, I believe that we still have space to make a vast difference in our designs for many users.

Custom design

Every project is different, just as every user is different. This is why I recommend custom design where possible. Deciding your own goals for a project and brand narrative/ethos is a very useful starting point. Really understanding your users and how they will use your website is also important for success. When it really comes down to it, how can a pre-made design (such as a website) work successfully for your project without all these considerations?

Often budget and time comes into play which is understandable, but I believe if the success of a project relies on having the experience and thoughts of users at the forefront, with a cohesive custom design that really reflects the company or brand well.


If you’d like to share your thoughts about this topic or discuss a potential project with Ngaire, please email her at [email protected].


If you’re interested in checking out the Design Disruptors documentary, you can find their website and traliers here:

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