The Complete Guide To Customer-Centric Web Design & How To Create A Customer-Centered Website

Estimated Reading Time: 10 Minutes

By: Brian McCrackenbutton to visit the authors linked profile
High Level Developer


  • Customer-centric and user-centric design are two different principles. Not every user of a product is also a customer; the person who purchased it.
  • A well-executed customer focused design process also helps you eliminate distractions and avoid common web design mistakes.
  • A customer-centric design process helps you plan and develop your website’s visual communication, copyrighting, navigation, call-to-actions, and marketing message so that they all work together harmoniously.

When a customer comes to your website, they have something specific that they want or need. If that customer can’t find what they are looking for on your website, they will go to your competitor’s website and look for it there.

An experienced web designer will try to prevent that from happening to you by designing your website to be easy to use, always seems to provide the right information at the right time, and most importantly giving your customers exactly what they were looking for in a place they can easily find it.

All of those web design qualities contribute to what is known as your customer’s user experience with your website.

One of the tools web designers can use to help get you there is Customer-Centric Website Design.

Customer-centric web design is a complex topic. This article will explain what it is, sharing processes developed by the Hasso-Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford, and provide you with valuable insight from the Interaction Design Foundation.

At the end, we will teach you how to build your own customer-centric website.

What Is Customer-Centric Website Design?

Customer-Centric (or Customer-Centered) Website Design is a business strategy and website planning process that evaluates a customer’s cognitive psychology, goals, characteristics, environment, and product/service needs so that you know how to provide your customers the best experience possible while they are using your website.

The customer-centric design process gives extensive attention to the issues that are most important to your customers during every stage of your website’s design and development.

The customer-centric design process allows your web designer to:

  • Form a deep understanding of who your customers are.
  • Learn where they are coming from, and what problems they are facing.
  • Understand your customers expectations are and how to provide them with a solution that encourages them to take an action which furthers your business goals.

Customer-centric website design is different from user-centric design, and the process for executing them is entirely different as well.

Image explaining that a customer-centric website design allows you to take the same attention to detail that you use to provide in-person customer satisfaction and extend it to your website as well.
Customer satisfaction doesn’t end when someone leaves your business. Ensuring that your website also produces a high level of customer satisfaction is a goal of customer-centric web design.

What Is The Difference Between Customer-Centric Website Design And User-Centric Design?

Not every user of a product is also a customer; the person who purchased it. User-centric design focuses on shaping a product around the person using it, whereas Customer-Centric web design has to account for both the user, and the customer making the purchase, what information they need to know, and how to delivery that information to them as quickly as possible.

Unlike user-centric design, customer-centric web design requires additional research to determine how to work with and influence the cognitive psychology of your customer as a function of effective marketing, while also ensuring that the website is easy to use in a more global sense.

Why Is Customer-Centric Website Design Important?

A customer-centric design process helps you plan and develop your website’s visual communication, copyrighting, navigation, call-to-actions, and marketing message so that they all work together harmoniously.Applying customer-centricity to your website is important because forces you to focus your web design exclusively around your customer’s needs and expectations above all else. A customer-centric design process helps you plan and develop your website’s visual communication, copyrighting, navigation, call-to-actions, and marketing message so that they all work together harmoniously.

Additionally, a well-executed customer focused design process also helps you eliminate distractions and avoid common web design mistakes which can lead to poor project outcomes.

image showing a team working together on a customer-centric website design.
Customer-centric web design help you ensure that your customers have a consistent experience with your business online, increasing your perceived professionalism and trustworthiness.

What Are The Benefits Of Customer-Centric Web Design?

Using a customer-centric web design strategy will help you lower your website’s bounce rate, improve user experience, increase your conversion rate, and overcome customer hesitation among other things. It also provides you a great opportunity to evaluate and clarify other areas of your business strategy to ensure all of your related business activities are in alignment with your goals.

What Are The Principles Of Customer-Centric Design?

The four key principles of a customer centered design approach are:

  1. Surveying your customers so they are involved before the design process begins.
  2. Understanding the requirements your customers have and the solutions they are seeking to evaluate and connect how your products and services align with their needs.
  3. Conducting user feedback polls to help make customer-focused decisions throughout the entire website design process.
  4. Slowly instituting small design changes that are split-tested and purposeful while collecting feedback from customers to help the web design team better understand what decisions work best for end users.

The customer-centered design methodology is obsessed with delivering value to your customers by aligning your solutions with their needs and in doing so aims to add an emotional impact to the products and services your business offers.

image showing a business owner asking their customers what they need from their website, so that they can build a website that meets those needs
By getting your customers involved early in the customer-centric web design process, you can determine their needs and know how to create a website design that best meets them.

What Is The Flow Of A Customer-Centric Web Design Process?

The Hasso-Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford has a five-stage design process that is often utilized by product design teams, but the exact same process works for customer-centric web design with some minor modifications.

The stages of the process when applied to web design are:

  1. Empathize with your customer’s needs and the problems they face.
  2. Define your your customers are, who you are, and how both of you align to help each other.
  3. Ideate the best ways you can solve your customer’s problems and how to present and communicate your solutions to them.
  4. Prototype small changes in your web design that are made with purposeful intent to understand the single outcome of a single design change.
  5. Test changes to your web design by introducing it to a controlled group of customers and collect their feedback.

To better understand the effect your web design changes have made with your customers, the Interaction Design Foundation offers these four tips for requirement clarification. These are modified slightly to fit the framework of web design.

  1. Understand the context of your web design changes and what their intended use is.
  2. Be specific with user requirements, so that they understand what they are evaluating and you gain more actionable insight into the effects your design changes had. Also be specific in asking your customers what they need to better inform future decisions.
  3. Design solutions with the insight you gained to address the specific need your customers told you about.
  4. Evaluate your solutions against the requirements previously set by your customers feedback.
Image showing feedback being collected during the design phase of a customer-centric web design process.
Feedback from your customers is collected with each iterative change to your website’s design so that you can make future design decisions based on what your customer’s tell you works best for them.

How To Build A Customer-Centric Website

These are the eight steps you need to follow to build a customer-focused website.

  1. Survey your customers with specific questions to discover their needs and requirements.
  2. Ideate and design solutions that align your products and services with your customers needs.
  3. Institute small, individual changes one at a time that have a single purpose in improving your customers experience.
  4. Split test those changes among a group of your customers with half getting the new changes and the other half using the web design as it was before, and collect feedback.
  5. Evaluate that feedback to make further critical design decisions based on how well they work for your customers.
  6. Keep you web design changes simple and functional to avoid confusion.
  7. Focus on solving your customers problems and addressing their needs first.
  8. Be obsessed with your customers experience and satisfaction while using your website.

1. Survey your customers.

Getting your customers involved at the very beginning will help you keep their needs in mind throughout the entire design process. Ask specific questions about what problems they need solutions to, as well as any challenges they have using your website.

2. Ideate and design solutions.

Once you’ve asked your customers about what problems they have, or issues they have using your website, you can begin developing content focused on helping them address their needs. Where you’ve identified website design issues, consider what steps you would need to take to address them slowly, and one at a time.

3. Make one change at a time.

It’s important to only make one change at a time because if you make a lot of changes, you will have no way of knowing which one of those changes made the most impact.

Your customer’s needs will evolve over time, and your website has to evolve to meet those needs. Your web design isn’t a set-and-forget affair. It’s an on-going process of continual improvement, so don’t be in a rush and sacrifice valuable information in the process.

4. Split-test your changes.

Split testing refers to showing a two groups of people two different versions of a web design and seeing which one more people have a positive opinion of.

You can think of the group of customer that you show the old design to as being your control group. Ask the group of customers that see you new design specifically how they feel about that change.

5. Evaluate the responses.

The feedback you received in the previous step will give you an idea of if that change as successful in achieving it’s goal. If the feedback wasn’t positive, ideate on a new solution to split test again.

6. Keep your changes simple.

If you make changes that are overly complex, it may confuse some of your customers and taint the feedback your receive. Your goal is to create an easy to use website, so make sure your changes align with that goal. Custom developed WordPress sites are great for quick, simple changes because they often make enacting your new changes very easy.

7. Focus on your customers needs.

While you’re making these changes, you might be tempted to get selfish and think about your needs as a business. Keep in mind that customers are coming to your website to address their needs. Stay focused on their needs if you want to keep your website customer-centric.

8. If you want to build a customer-centric website, be obsessed with their experience while using it.

It’s easy as business owners to get caught up in our quarterly and annual sales goals, or spend a lot of time talking about yourself and what you offer. Sometimes the result of that is it becomes harder for your customers to find the information that matters to them.

So make sure your customers can always find what they need as easily as possible, and that the information you provide helps them solve their problems.

Do You Want To Make Sure Your Website Is Customer-Centric?

We’re here to answer any questions you have. Feel free to reach out and tell us a little more about your website and business.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    It’s not uncommon for people to have a lot of questions on what customer-centric web design is an how to implement it. Here’s some answers to the most common questions we see asked.

    How can I make my website more customer-centric?

    The steps of customer-centric web design are surveying your customers to determine what they expect and need to find on your website. Create content that addresses those needs. Simplify navigation so that content is easier to find. Regularly follow up with your customers to see how their needs change over time.

    How do I measure the success of my customer-centric website design?

    Your success can normally be found in lower bounce rates, higher conversions, reduced marketing spend to achieve the same or better business outcomes, and sometimes an increase in website traffic.

    What are some examples of customer-centric websites?

    The most common examples of a customer-centric web design you can find would be Amazon and Apple’s websites. They are both obsessed with providing the best customer experience possible, and making it easy for people to find what they want, and buy what they need from their websites.

    What are the key elements of customer-centric website design?

    Your website needs to be easy for your customers to use and find what they are looking for. This can be done by using simple navigation to organize your website’s information and making sure the content on your website matches the user intent when they are looking for it.

    What are the best practices for customer-centric website design?

    After completing the first steps in producing a customer-centric website design, it is considered a best practice to regularly follow up with your customers and evaluate how their needs change over time. Understanding the evolution of your customer’s needs will allow you to execute small, continuous changes over time to ensure your website always provides the best customer experience.

    How can I create a customer-centric website that converts?

    By its very nature, a well-executed customer-centric website design will already be set up for high conversion rates. If you don’t already, being sure to integrate call-to-actions through your web design will further improve your conversion rate.

    How can I design a customer-centric website for mobile?

    Mobile usability is a key element of creating a customer-centric website design. Be sure that your website loads quickly, that images are the proper size for viewing on mobile devices, and that the website’s navigation is not overwhelming on a small screen. Having an easy-to-find search bar can also help improve the customer-centricity of your website for mobile users.

    Final Thoughts On Building Customer-Centric Websites

    Taking on this kind of project can be overwhelming for a lot of business owners. Hiring a professional web designer to help you design and build a customer-centered website is strongly recommended.

    While it is something you can do on your own, particularly if you have an easy-to-use WordPress site that will allow you to make changes quickly, we specialize to complex and demanding wed design projects such as this, and are here to help if at any point you feel like you need assistance.

    That said, as long as you stay focused on addressing your customer’s needs and making the information they need easy to find, you’ll be off to a great start.


    Are You Ready To Be Customer-Centric?

    Customer centricity is important for both B2B and B2C businesses. If you want to star the process of ensuring that your website meets your customers needs, reach out and let us help.

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