Let's start with a warming up exercise: Which of these 2 examples do you think is the best design? A, the airplane cockpit of an A380? Or B, the all-too-familiar Google interface?
The airplane cockpit is an example of a great design for its intended target audience. Sure, a pilot will need some training and I don't pretend to be able to understand it, but I don't think we could simplify the interface without removing important functionality, would you agree?
The Google interface is clean and simple with lots of white space, but the real reason why it is a great design is because it meets google's business need of selling advertisement. Google does not want any distraction or even waste of bandwidth.
Strategy: End-User Needs
So in order to create a great design we have to invest time to define our UX strategy. First we need to ask
- who our users are,
- what these users are trying to accomplish or in other words what is in it for them and
- then how successful they are doing that.
This typically requires research.
Strategy: Business Needs
The second aspect is to understand what the business needs are.
- Where are we now?
- Where do we want to go?
- How do we get there?
- And most important of all how do we define success?
This is really essential for later stages in a project in order to make objective design decisions. We capture all the answers in a short document that we call the UI Strategy OneSheet (Download Word Template (.dotx)) which is literally only one page.
What is good Design?
So what is good design? What is the meaning of life of your application?
Good design is when it has a purpose, when it is useful to somebody.
Defining the UX strategy and capturing what success means is the basis for creating purpose.
Here the video for my talk about best practices for designing map applications on the web from Esri DevSummit 2015.
Every map application has two characteristics in common: it tries to solve a problem, and it needs a user interface (UI) to do so. This session presents best practices for solving well-known design problems and how to create easy-to-use and compelling interfaces. - See more at: http://video.esri.com/watch/4316/user-experience-and-interface-design-for-web-apps
This week Cody Lawson (LinkedIn) joined our team as a UI Engineer.
Cody earned his Bachelor degree in Web Design & Interactive Media from the Art Institute of California. As a freelancer he has helped many clients with his skills in web & graphic design as well as ecommerce & user interface development.
I'm very excited seeing his design and web development skills being applied to designing map interfaces for Esri Professional Services. Welcome on board!
Here is the video from the tech session I held at the Esri DevSummit 2013 in Palm Springs, CA.
The session teaches participants best practices for reviewing, conceptualizing, designing and building user-centered mapping applications in a competitive business environment. Methods, techniques and tools for improving the user experience and designing useful and appealing front-end interfaces will be discussed.
- User-interface, user-experience & usability explained (by Bernard Schokman) - I think the title is misleading, it's more about "Practical design principles for UI/UX/Usability Design"
- 10 Important UI Design Considerations for Web Apps (by Marc Gayle) - try polishing the little things to make your app truly awesome
- Tools for Facilitating Feedback on Prototypes and Wireframes (by David Leggett) - What's your favorite? Why?
- How to Identify the Best Design Problems (by Joshua Porter) - About the importance of prioritization.
- A Guide to CSS Colors in Web Design (by Alexander Dawson) - Once again a great guide by Alexander; contrast, shades, hues, transparency and co.
- 40 Beautiful and Elegant WordPress Themes of May 2011 (by Madalin Tudose) - very nice collection, wordpress has come a long way and so did its front-end designers
- HOW TO: Add the +1 Button to Your WordPress Site (by Christina Warren) - if you like it or not, here is the +1 Button integration...
- Why You Should Buy Your First 5000 Twitter Followers (by Rohit) - ethical or not... love or not love... with a little help from your friends
- So you think you can build a website? (by Vitamin in Talent) - a really handy flowchart to determine if your idea will result in a great website
- The ultimate HTML5 resource guide (by Cameron Chapman) - what else to say? ultimate resouce guide!
- (More) Useful Web Usability Testing Tools (by hongkiat) - What are your experiences with these tools? Which one is your favorite? Why?
We, the people, have been around for quite some years now. Computers, software, applications and the web not so much. Therefore it is clear that applications have to adjust to the people and not the other way round.
Many design principles have developed throughout the decades, but the main difference of user-centered design to others is that
UCD tries to optimize the user interface around how people can, want, or need to work, rather than forcing the users to change how they work to accommodate the system or function.
Purpose of UCD
UCD answers questions about users and their tasks and goals, then use the findings to make decisions about development and design.
UCD seeks to answer the following questions:
- Who are the users of the application?
- What are the users’ main tasks and goals?
- What are the users’ experience levels with the application?
- What functions do the users need from the application?
- What information might the users need, and in what form do they need it?
- How do users think the application should work?
Benefits & Return of Investment
- Increased usability
- Higher degree of customer satisfaction
- Continued business
- Higher revenues
- Project management optimization
- Focus on important functionality early
- Unforeseen user requirements
- Reduced costs
- Training costs
- Help-Desk calls and service costs
- Focus on users’ needs, tasks and goals
- Spend time on initial research and requirements
- Identify your target audience and observe them (accomplishing their tasks)
- Let users define product requirements
- Emphasis on iterative design process
- Evaluate system on real target users
Nobody could state it simpler than Susan Dray: "If the user can’t use it, it doesn’t work".