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User-Centered Design

Customer-centered design is most closely related to what is known as user-centered design, an effort pioneered in the 1980s for engineering useful and usable computer systems. Customer-centered design builds on user-centered design, adding concerns that go beyond ease of use and satisfaction. In particular, it also focuses on the fusion of marketing issues with usability issues.

On the Web it is much easier to get an audience than by traditional means, but you also want to convert Web site visitors to customers and then keep them coming back. Unlike someone selling shrink-wrapped software to a customer who buys before using it, you want to convince Web site visitors to become customers and make their first use enjoyable—all at the same time. Pay special attention to business goals, marketing goals, usability goals, and customer experience goals. These goals often conflict with each other, and you will be able to find a balance among them only if you are aware of them all at once. These issues are much more intertwined and harder to design for on the Web than for shrink-wrapped software.

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