Imagine working on a Website project for weeks or even months. This is typical. It is so easy to take a very narrow view of the project because you are so close to it. In fact, there may only be a handful of people making the key decisions on how the Website will look, function and be used by site visitors. And they all can have a narrow view. They can also argue about their narrow views. This so often leads to very serious user problems because site visitors don’t understand what the developers had in mind. They have not been part of your development meetings. However, the Website’s architects have no problem understanding it because they have lived it for months!
So the challenge is to get out of your head, out of your own work, and into the head of the user. It is almost like you are in a different country and you are learning new customs and languages. Unfortunately, there are no handbooks that translate the language of your customer’s and targeted user’s usability. You have to find out for yourself by observing them in action. This may involve letting go of a few things that seemed extremely important during the development process.
If you want your Website to get results, listen to the user. I recommend having someone in the development meetings actually represent the user. A staff member form sales or marketing should be good at this role. Keep in mind your Website users will out number you many times over. Ultimately, the users will determine the fate of all the planning and work that went into the Website development, so why not make it easy on yourself?