I heart UX.

This week I got to do something completely new: a usability study. Being completely new to the process, I didn’t know much going in. Only that websites should be constructed for the people who use them. Makes sense right?

Well, that’s not the way it usually works. Many organizations create the website they think they need. One where content and design are based on their perception of their audience and their needs. It’s not built for their key audiences: the people who will actually be using the site. Or worse, it’s created for the wrong audience. For two days, I had the privilege of watching True Matter completely dissect the perceptions and needs of several audiences for a website that’s under development. It was absolutely fascinating.

Dean penned a great post on this very topic last week. It’s worth a read. It’s full of great information that works even for the smallest website or Facebook page.

My first usability experience was pretty eye opening. It made me realize many websites are clunky and useless because they’re not built around their audience’s needs and usage patterns.

A website that’s not functional for audiences is so 2009. In 2011, if you don’t ask what audiences need and want, you’re going to hear about it. But probably not by e-mail. Today’s wired users head straight to Facebook and Twitter. Hopefully you’re listening.