How to design User Experience?

We all experience things differently

Many people talk about design User Experience today. Have you thought about what an experience is? And that we have different experiences because we are all unique? If you hold that thought and think about the meaning of User Experience design -is it even possible to design an experience?

Here are my thoughts about User Experience, this is not an exact definition, just my way to explain and my very personal reflections and guidelines towards better User Experience.

Think of the scenario that you go for a walk, it’s springtime. You hear the birds singing with joy. The gras looks so green and new. The sun warms your skin and the breeze is tender. This is one experience many of us can relate to. We might not feel the exact same way but most of us think about this scenario in a positive way.

design User Experience?

The big thing today is to experience things

Today people have turned from owning things to experience things. It’s not enough just having great experiences on your trip to Thailand, but you want experiences more often than that. An example is how we act towards music: today it’s few people that buy records (if it’s not for the experience connected to collecting old LP’s). You don’t need to own records, people like to experience the music, on a phone or a concert etc.

Is it possible to design User Experience?

There lies a challenge when we are going to design User Experience, of course, you can’t just copy and paste. It’s not about technology, UI or Graphic design, even if these things are important and are needed for the experience, it’s about creating a meaningful experience through a technological device.

According to Marc Hassenzal (2010): “an experience is a story emerging from the dialogue of a person with her or his world through action”.

We need to experience the design before the product, to learn how it feels to act on a product, to use it or interact with it. 

To design a great User Experience you need to be able to imagine what the user wasn’t to feel and experience while using the system or site that you have designed…

To imagine that you need to know the user and his or hers needs. You have to create scenarios where you tell the users story while using the system or site:

  • Why is people visiting your site (purpose, meaning)?
  • What tasks does the user need to performed?
  • How can your system/site help the user do this?

Create your scenario like a story, where the user interact with the system or site. This is a huge and solid ground for your design process. 

Here is an example of a simple scenario:

Lisa gets home from work and has a seat in the kitchen. She feels tired and a bit sad after en argue with here boss. She is feeling lonely. Suddenly, a sound from her phone. 

A message gets visible on the screen: Hi, How are you? Do you wish to go out for a while? Love from Sue 

Lisa smiles, her friend is always there for her, how fantastic, isn’t that? The evening looks to be a lot better.

In this scenario, the phone plays a part and the technology to. The phone fills a need for social relationships and friendship in this case. You can also see that we actually design the product and the possibility to connect in this case, the experience is personal and happens in different ways. But we need to create stories to understand  and imagine the users situations. In this case, the phone could have showed a lot of different messages to different people. All should have created unique experiences.

How to find the scenarios?

You can base a scenario on user surveys or by observing the user situation. For a large site that sells clothes, it’s not possible to observe all the actual users. Then surveys are an excellent way to find out what some possible users expect from a site like that. Why do they visit? To get inspired or, for shopping?

Summary

To sum up, people today have more or less moved from owning to experience things. To design a product or website or mobile app, we need to put the experience first. All functions, buttons and graphic design is ways to prepare the product to let the users have numerous experiences. In designing a User Experience lies a challenge, but it is doable if we have the stories in mind, the user scenarios and if we try to understand our users.

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Good website design tips -six guidelines

A good experience for your visitors -website design tips!

Good website design don’t need to be as complicated as it sounds. Even if you use WordPress templates there are some guidelines to bear in mind. You can almost always change things by customizing your template and style. Most templates are created to follow conventions for websites and that is a good thing. I will tell you more about that later on in this post.

To help you get a design that supports usability I will describe 6 guidelines to be taken into account. I have chosen to mention factors that influence the readability and also how to design your page to support users to understand and find things on your website.

good website design

Readability guidelines

Headlines
Use headlines that guide your readers. The headline should give a hint about the content. It also will be easier for your readers to find what they are trying to find on your website.

Descriptive link names

Descriptive link names are exactly what it sounds like. The links, like the headlines should guide your readers. It’s not fun to click on a link that just says “click here”. It better to say what it’s all about, like “read more in
this post about website usability”.

Support scanning

Most people don’t read the content of a webpage. They scan it. That means they look for words, images or phrases that interest them. If they find out what they are looking for they will probably find out more and stay for a while. I do this all the time. It makes it a lot easier to find what I look for and I can “read” a lot of content in a short time. If the content supports scanning…

Use colors wisely

Colors are wonderful and make us happy, or? When it comes to readability there are some simple rules: light text on dark background or the other way around. You get the highest readability when writing black text on white background. It might sound boring to know that but it will help your readers to read your content!

Page design guidelines

Signs and clues

Use signs and clues to guide your readers in your site. Ensure that it’s obvious what is clickable and what is not. You can find out when you do usability testing. You can compare with a city, where street signs tell you where to go and helps you get your way. It’s the same on a website. Signs should be easy to find and the meaning should be clear. Like “comment here” or “follow future posts” and also that buttons look like buttons (things you can click on) and also that links looks like links. Use categories to help your readers to find relevant content.

Conventions

Conventions are called that for a reason. When you are using a computer, for example, you expect the keyboard to look in a certain way and the same goes for the mouses and screen. There are conventions for websites too:

  • Logo in the upper left corner.
  • Titel on the top of the page.
  • Navigation (menu) mainly across the top of the page or to the left (or right).
  • Content to the right.
  • Hamburger icon is often used for menus in mobile sites or apps.
  • Here is also clues important: a shopping chart looks like chopping chart. A trash can like a trash can and so on.
  • Fields for address and other information, comments and so on looks similar on most sites.
  • Buttons should look like buttons and links like links (underscore and often blue).
  • Links should change when you hover over them with your mouse pointer.

These are some things I think you should not change, people are used to it and if it’s radically different they might not know what to do and leave your website.

I hope this is helpful for you! Most of the templates have the navigation guidelines in mind. But in some cases you can do a lot of changes, do it wisely and your readers will love it:-)

Do you know more things that are important to have a good design on a website? Please leave a comment below!

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