Preparing the Perfect Page

The 5 W's of Assessing Web Pages

As a UX designer, sometimes people ask me to glance over a web page and tell them if it’s “good”. This is a futile attempt to gain insights; it’s impossible to say whether a page is effective if you don’t first understand why the page exists. Whether you’re planning a new site or assessing current efforts, this structure can help guide your evaluation.

Who

  • Who will visit this page? Refer to the audience segments defined during the discovery phase of the process.
  • Who will create and maintain this page? It’s important to establish a content governance policy: define a set of guidelines concerning how content will be generated.

What

  • What is the purpose of this page? Refer to the audiences identified in the previous step; what are users looking to view and do?
  • What is the content? You should have a good idea of what information a page needs to hold, even before you start working on a final draft of the content. Outline the major headings, panels, or content blocks, keeping in mind where you need to display images and videos.

Where

  • Where are people coming from? Identify other pages on your site that will lead people here. Also think about visitors from search engines, social media, and ads. A user’s intent may depend on where they came from.
  • Where will visitors go next? No page is an island; page views are one step in a larger user story or conversion funnel. Think about where you want people to go to meet goals. Brainstorm calls to action, links, and related content to guide users to the next step.

When

  • When do people need to view this page? Identify the stage in a task or during a user story when a user would reach this page. If your business is seasonal, consider if there are certain times of the year when the page is more useful and how that may impact your content strategy.
  • When will this page be updated? Plan updates as part of your content governance: when can users expect new or updated content? Pages can have scheduled or ad-hoc updates, or the content may be glacial, such as a privacy policy.

Why

  • Why does this page exist and why are people here? These “big picture” questions about function and intent should be answered by the responses in the previous sections. Use this as a final check to make sure you've got a good plan for this page – and a good reason for its existence.
     

How do I make a great site? Follow these steps for every page!

User-Centered Design