Customer-Centered Web Design

Customer-Centered Web Design

One day, while walking down the street, a man encounters a talking dog. Flabbergasted, the man dashes off to tell his friend. As they both rush back to find the talking dog, his friend asks, "A talking dog? What did it say?" The man replies, "Who cares, it's a talking dog!"

A few years ago, the Web was just like the talking dog. It was so new, so fascinating, that its content did not matter. Anybody could create a Web site, and it was fun just to be there. People put Web cameras on coffee makers, on fish tanks, and sometimes even on themselves. People created elaborate Web sites devoted to arcane obsessions, from cult television shows to fetishes too bizarre to put in print.

But then the first commercial Web sites appeared, and for better or worse, the Web took its first few steps growing up.

Since then, designers have explored literally thousands of ideas in an effort to understand and make use of this new medium. The Web is no longer a rambunctious toddler, touching and tasting and trying out every new thing within reach. The Web is maturing, and the problems faced by today's Web developers are the same ones faced by any industry as it matures: More and more people are starting to care about factors like value, convenience, and ease of use over the novelty of the technology itself.

Customer-centered design deals with this change in priorities. In this chapter you will discover the thinking behind customer-centered design, and learn how to apply it to your projects using the principles, processes, and patterns we present.

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