How Use Cases Can Improve Your Website

You’re well aware that your site needs to be beautifully designed with attractive, professional content and intuitive navigation. To best serve your users, these characteristics are essential. However, beyond getting a helping hand from web or UX designers and your marketing team, you might not be entirely sure how to achieve great, simple user experience. Written use cases could be the missing link.

What is a Use Case?

In short, a use case specifies who is coming to your website and how they hope to use it. Once you’ve clarified your visitor demographics and their intended purpose, you can ensure that your website’s process and flow are suitable to get them to their destination with minimal frustration and human intervention. For a more detailed definition of a use case, check out this article.

How Do I Create a Use Case?

  1. Identify a person who is part of your website’s target audience (i.e. a current client or a new prospective client)
  2. Determine one thing the user wants to do on the website. Remember to choose only one specific task or goal – each separate purpose will serve as a new use case. For example, you’ll have one use case for a current client who wants to contact you with a question and a separate use case for a current client who wants to log into your payment gateway and pay a bill.
  3. Describe the basic course of events for the use case. For the examples listed above, the client would likely navigate to your home page and, from there, click on the FAQ; if they couldn’t find their answer there, they would go to the Contact page and submit a message or give you a phone call. This is where user experience comes into play – will your user have an easy time finding what they’re looking for? Is the process straightforward?
  4. At this stage, the process diverges depending on whether you already have a website or are crafting a new one. If you already have a site, this is when you will compare an “optimal” use case to what happens in your actual user experience. Is the existing user experience frustrating or confusing based on the use case you’ve drafted? If so, time to make a change. If you’re building a site from scratch, you can design an optimal user experience based on the predicted use case.

How to Use a Use Case

Use cases are essentially thought experiments for your website. They can be massively helpful in informing user experience and user interface design, but they can’t replace human testers or lessons learned. You can make use of uses cases to design a better navigational experience and ensure the information architecture on your website offers an intuitive experience for most users of your site.

Want to learn more about targeting specific user types on your site and improving their experience? Read our past post here.

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Chantelle Gossner

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