Tag Archives: users

Designing user-friendly websites based on tasks, not categories

What’s the most common way of creating a webpage? Although it’s tempting to make some categories about what I need to put info under, and pick a great layout, you run the risk of not satisfying what your users actually need from the webpage.

I have been working on this a bit lately, as we design a new webpage at work and as I help 2 friends with their own webpages.

The key is to always think in tasks. What does someone want to get done when they come to your website? People don’t just come to websites to read aimlessly – really, they don’t. When was the last time you wanted to waste some time and decided to open a random webpage and read everything you could find on it?

We never do – there’s always a task in mind. That task might be, as for my friends’ websites, look for any new pieces of fashion from xxx designer. Sometimes it can help to think about tasks in the format of questions. What new pieces has xxx released lately? Can I get xxx in a different colour?

There are a range of different tasks that your audiences will be looking to complete when they come to your website. I have found, in other projects, that they are fairly distinct.

However, yesterday was strange: many of the tasks of different audiences (of my friend’s website) overlapped. I haven’t found that before. It was quite an interesting experience.

I feel quite sure that it will certainly change the way the website is laid out, because the similar tasks between audiences go beyond the usual ‘store’, ‘blog’, ‘contact’ classifications that you might use. I’m not sure how, yet, but it will.

Have you experienced either using tasks to design a webpage, or overlapping tasks between audiences?