User Experience Design is all about creating a platform for better interaction between the user and his/her screen. This interaction is dependent on the type of website, interaction modes, visual language, and of course the users themselves. As a result of these multiple dependencies, there really is no one-size-fits-all model to ensure a great user experience. However, it is possible to point out some salient concepts that all User Experience Designers should incorporate into their tool designs to give their users a hassle-free web experience. Three such concepts are detailed below
A tool provides a good user experience if it is well able to guide the user through itself. The information that the user requires should be laid out with absolute clarity and appropriate hierarchy.
Remember the old design adage: ‘Form Follows Function.’ When you have search boxes that look like buttons, users will tend to keep clicking them, expecting an action. The visual form of your actions should always make clear to the users what those actions relate to. This can be achieved by making things look like their function – for example, 3D looking action buttons, the cursor changing to a little grabbing hand when something that can be dragged is clicked.
Your users are humans. They have a natural propensity for taking to aesthetically appealing and easy-to-use designs. However, to engage users, the tool not only needs to look good and work well, but should also work in interesting ways. Include nice, simple interaction modes to keep your users sufficiently engaged. The interaction modes you include in your tool should not distract the user from the content. After all, a user’s goal is content oriented rather than interface related.
Another factor to consider when designing your tool is your target user’s tastes and moods. Your visual and interaction strategies should be in tune with these aspects. For instance, a comparative overview of MINI’s USA website and Jaguar’s website will readily reveal that these two sites are definitely not intended for the same type of user.
An efficient User Experience Design lets users accomplish their goals with convenience. Consider the following:
A consumer exploring a product line and considering a purchase has very different goals from, say, an employee working at a customer support call center. The consumer may want to browse through your products, get detailed information about a particular product, or even make comparisons with similar products before making a purchase. A customer support representative, by contrast, will most likely not be looking to explore. S/he clearly knows what s/he needs and is looking to find the relevant information fast.
For a tool to be functionally efficient, it needs to be geared towards addressing your users’ specific goals. This is only possible if you identify your users’ goals first through data analysis or market research, and then craft your User Experience Design strategy accordingly.
Today, web designers are increasingly applying themselves to crafting designs that provide users with the very best surfing experience. Do you use an understandable, engaging, and efficient tool to enhance your users’ web experience?