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WEB HOSTING HOW-TOS

Use Case Design for Websites Part 1
By: Michael Swanson
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    2005-03-02

    Table of Contents:
  • Use Case Design for Websites Part 1
  • Use Cases
  • Usability Design and Web Site Layout
  • Usability Design and Data Organization

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    Use Case Design for Websites Part 1


    (Page 1 of 4 )

    You may have a lovely-looking website, but does it really make your visitors happy? Do they have a hard time navigating it, or finding or entering data? Or are you still planning your website, but want to avoid these kinds of problems? This is where Use Case design comes in. Keep reading to find out how this can help programmers and designers keep a website on track and its visitors happy.

    Introduction and Motivation

    Use Case design, or usability design has been around for quite a while in the arena of general software design methodologies. One place it hasnít penetrated very deeply is in the area of website design. As websites have grown in complexity and in the number of different tasks they perform, they come close to and often cross over into true software applications, rather than dressed up content formatting. This generally means that keeping a firm grasp on how a website will actually be used will make your websites more effective for customers and users, and easier to implement and maintain for you as the software engineer.  The best way to accomplish this is through usability design practices.

    Often, website code isnít viewed as true, fully-fledged software by programmers or analysts. This has led to a short changing of actual software design practices by Web software teams, in some cases.  Because website code is seen as overgrown scripts, it doesnít receive the design attention that a general, compiled business app might receive. 

    This is an error, because many, if not most, websites will be used much more often, and by a larger and more differentiated user base than most business applications.  Because most websites are designed to be used by the general public, how a user interacts with a website is often more important than with other applications. True Web applications must be more intuitive, more streamlined, and more fail-proof than almost any other piece of software that is commonly used or deployed by most businesses. Through doing usability design on a website, and especially through maintaining that design during the implementation of a Web application, the programmer will be forced to keep the usability of that Web application as his or her first design priority throughout the implementation process. 

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