Growing up, one of my favorite movies was Tron. I had just gotten involved in computers myself, loved video games fanatically, and had the full imagination of a geek-in-the-making; I must have driven my mom nuts.
From that original movie, one of the lines that has stuck with me, (forming my outlook on user experience) is, “That’s Tron, he fights for the users.”
Fast forward several years, and now I write code that affects the daily lives of people around the world, allowing them to productively complete their tasks without even realizing that they are benefiting from good user experience.
For many people user experience starts and stops at navigation and form validation messaging. Truly, it is so much more than that.
If a user is able to seamlessly navigate a site and efficiently perform desired tasks, then the user experience should be considered a success. If the user abandons tasks, has difficulty navigating or leaves a site confused, then the user experience as designed is obviously failing.
The best way to combat this is by considering the user’s experience from the very start of the process:
- User experience begins at the very first glance
- Primary task(s) should be easily seen and understood with a clear visual prioritization
- Secondary and tertiary tasks should be organized with less screen presence
- Links and callouts should be easily recognizable, easy to find and self-explanatory based on the task they fulfill
Whether we know it or not, most us have visually trained ourselves to expect certain basic actions, from all of the time we have spent surfing and using websites. If a user is used to a particular experience (like clicking on a logo to go to the home page) and all of a sudden that action lands them on the contact page, a bad user experience has occurred.
Another area that is lacking in user experience on a lot of sites is the consideration of common tasks and how to achieve them. The larger a site the more critical it is to make things easy to use.
Often good user experience is natural to the way we have come to interact with offline devices. If a light switch was installed upside down in your house and to turn off the lights you had to flip the switch up, it would be a bad user experience. Online, a bad user experience would be for the Contact Us link to take users to a catalog or media release section.
One of the many things that I love about working at Imaginuity Interactive is that I am not fighting this fight alone. Each and every person here has the best experience for the user in mind when we design, develop and deploy the sites and applications we build for our clients. We don’t get to wear cool illuminated jumpsuits (… at least not yet) but we do fight for the users.