User-focussed Design Works!

Proof, if more proof were needed that keeping the user in mind when designing a product, document or website really does work.

Renewing a support contract with a client, I was asking them if the website had been beneficial and if there was anything about it that had worked well. The response wasn’t quite what I’d expected, so I can’t take full credit for this, but it’s worth bearing in mind. Amongst various comments, one stuck out:

“… and a lot of people have commented on the fact the photos aren’t ‘glossed up’, you get a real sense of the workmanship that way”

For example, if you look at this photo page you can see that the photos used were taken by the client on a small digital camera. When I received these photos I pulled them into PhotoShop and started filtering and tweaking them, but no matter what I did to them the end result was the same.

They didn’t feel “honest”.

It’s hard to elaborate on this without sounding rather twee but ultimately I liked the fact that the photos LOOKED real, they didn’t looked staged and lit like a professionals photograph. Unwittingly I was wearing my user cap and seeing things from that point of view.

I wish I could say it was a conscious decision but it wasn’t, but it does seem that after spending many years wearing many different professional caps as part of my job as a Technical Writer, I can now flit between them without even realising!

I guess there even may be a lesson here for anyone selling something online. The more “real” you can make your product appear on your website, the better. Which reminds me, I’ve got some stuff to sell on eBay, maybe a video would help?