When Planning Your Site Content, Become the User

On Friday, I needed to get a small coffee table for my living room, so I decided to head to Ikea. I love Ikea, not only because their website is full of web standards goodness, but also because they make some really nice and affordable furniture.

Since Friday was the 4th of July, I wasn’t sure what the hours would be. I logged onto their website, found the store closest to me, and was getting ready to call and find out the hours.

To my delight, I not only found the normal store hours, but also found the holiday store hours.

Wow, that is quite a rarity. It is rare to even find the normal store hours on their websites, but holiday hours too? Quite impressive.

What the folks at Ikea have done is the simplest (and probably most important) method to having a successful website: put yourself in the users’ shoes. I’m sure at some point during their web site strategy development they thought: if we provide our store hours on the web site, then we will get less phone calls at the store about the hours, thus allowing the employees to focus more on the customers in the store.

So what is the lesson here? With every decision you make about your website, think about the goal of the website, and make sure your decision will help to achieve that goal.