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Reference library

User-centered content

Learn about user-centered content from different perspectives from these resources.

In sections below you will find:

  • Processes to learn about
  • Templates and examples
  • Tools to help

What is user-centered content?

The main principle of user-centered content is putting the user or customer at the center of any development process.

Content should support the user's goals and tasks; it should also be accessible and inclusive.

It is important to have a deeper understanding of the users to create relevant and valuable content to satisfy their needs.

How to create personas

Personas represent fictional characters of your target audience. A persona combines information about a customer's goals, ambitions, and problems, so that you can design, shape and create content that will be as relevant as possible for that persona.

Personas have a face, a name, a personality, goals, and more.

Processes to learn about

  • Personas Usability.gov share the benefits and best practices for developing personas, its elements and an example in this post.

  • Personas 101 Digital.gov's quick guide covers what questions to ask when creating your personas, along with examples.

  • Personas The New Zealand Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet share a brief article on what personas are, when and why you should use them, and their limitations.

  • User Personas The UK Government share research on the personas they used for their SDG website.

  • Persona creation The New South Wales (AU) Government has a quick guide on how to create user personas.

  • Personas Another article from the New Zealand Government, explaining why personas are useful, when and how to conduct persona work, and including eight example personas.

  • Personas 18F Methods has a five-step process on creating user personas, plus more resources you can explore.

  • Perfecting Your Personas This article describes how you can improve on your personas.

  • Using Activity Theory to build effective personas GOV.UK share how they build effective personas using a psychology-based approach called 'Activity Theory'.

  • Creating user personas for open data Use these tips as a guide for compiling ethnographic observations into a format that allows designers to relate to users at a glance.

  • Crafting Winning Personas This blog post from UX Matters tackles the benefits of using personas, the pitfalls to avoid, common elements of a persona, and how to craft one.

Templates and examples

Tools to help

  • UXPressia A tool to help you create persona types.

How to create and use job stories and user stories

A job story is similar to a user story, but it assumes that all users have the same needs or that there is only one user type. It is a better choice when you find writing user stories for each user type that have similar needs and motivations.

A job story is scenario-based and essentially the choice if you only have one audience to deal with.

A user story is a useful way to narrow your focus on what a user wants to achieve in your site or web page.

If you have multiple users with different needs for content and level of detail, creating a user story is helpful to pin down what your team needs to do.

A well-written user story also makes it easier to write more helpful and clearer page titles, summaries, and content.

Processes to learn about

Templates and examples

  • User Story Examples The US General Services Administration shares an example of their user stories.

Tools to help

  • User Story Mapping This site offers a list of resources that will help you with story mapping.

  • The Product Canvas This tool combines agile and UX practices by complementing user stories with personas, storyboards, scenarios, design sketches, and other UX artefacts.

How to create user experience journey maps

A user experience journey map shows the end-to-end experience that an average user goes through to accomplish a goal. It shows the users' needs, wants, expectations, and potential routes to reach that particular goal.

A user experience map is like a blueprint that defines how your customer interacts with your service or product. By creating this, it would help you to visualize a baseline of users' experience before taking a product or service into consideration.

Processes to learn about

Templates and examples

Tools to help

How to create empathy maps

An empathy map is a tool that provides useful and deeper insights into customer behavior.

Similar to a user persona, an empathy map can represent a group of users where it reveals behavioral patterns thereby providing an overview of the user's experience.

As this enables you to understand users better, it can also help you deliver a better user experience for your service or product.

Processes to learn about

Templates and examples

How to run usability tests

A usability test is the practice or method of testing to evaluate how easy a website, app or other digital product is to use. It involves observing users as they execute tasks and gives you insights into how well your design or product works.

A usability test is often done repeatedly to understand if the design is intuitive enough for your users to accomplish their goals.

Processes to learn about

Templates and examples

Tools to help

  • The Best UX Tools For User Research And User Testing Some of the best UX tools for user research and usability testing from Usability Geek.

  • Maze A rapid testing platform that enables you to collect both qualitative and quantitative usability data, all in one place.

  • Lookback A UX screen recording tool for designers and product managers who want to see how users interact with their applications.

  • UserTesting This platform offers a set of customer experience solutions for designers, product managers, marketers, and executives.

  • Optimal Workshop A suite of usability testing tools for information architecture tests.

  • UsabilityHub A remote user research platform that allows you to run different types of research tests and identify usability issues.

  • Loop11 An online usability tool that allows you to run website usability testing, A/B testing, and prototype testing.

  • Userfeel This user testing tool provides you with recorded videos of users completing tasks in real-time.

  • TrymyUI This tool allows you to run website usability tests and collect recorded videos of users completing the tasks you've created for them.

  • Hotjar A software that allows you to measure and track the usability of your website by recording heatmaps and behavior from real people.

  • Crazyegg This is a click-based user experience tool that includes features such as heatmaps, scrollmaps, overlays, and 'confetti'.

  • Optimizely This software is an A/B testing platform which allows users to track visits and conversions.

  • Fivesecondtest (By UsabilityHub) A tool that is designed to capture a visitor's first impression of a site.

  • Qualaroo This tool prompts site visitors to answer targeted questions and surveys in real-time, helping webmasters to craft better levels of usability.

  • Usabilla This platform has an impressive range of features, including click heatmaps, exit surveys, and mobile focused feedback.

  • Feedback Army A user testing tool that utilizes Amazon's Mechanical Turk service to solicit responses.

  • Top Usability Testing Tools:The Complete List (80 Tools) The Good's pick, following its review of hundreds of free and paid tools relating to website usability.

  • 8 Usability Testing Tools When On A Budget A list of more affordable usability tools that you can choose from if you're on a budget.

  • Usability Testing Nielsen Norman Group offers this paid full-day training course on usability testing.

  • Perfecting Your Usability Studies This report presents 186 tips and tricks for running better usability test sessions.

  • UX Foundations: Usability Testing A course that shows how to design a study, how to recruit the right participants, and how to set up a test environment.

  • Unmoderated User Testing Tools This spreadsheet from the Nielsen Norman Group includes a comparison of 15 tools that you can use in unmoderated usability testing.

  • Bugsee A mobile analytics solution which focuses mostly on bug/crash reporting.

  • FullStory A desktop qualitative analytics solution which provides product owners with the ability to see how users interact with their website.

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