We live in a different world than our parents did. Our parents’ parents struggle to adjust to a world where the digital screen is becoming more important than face-to-face interaction. But, there is a struggle on the other side of that issue. Companies and designers are struggling to make that digital screen effective and accessible to a wider range of people. But what really matters?
According to Garrett in The Elements of User Experience, this is only the single most important part of anything. If someone has a bad experience with a website, they simply will not visit that website. They will find ways around it, they will find a new company, they will find a new program. So it is important for it to work… well… the first time. There must be something effective and useful behind the appealing exterior.
Here is the goal. Don’t you want your users to look like the image on the right rather than the one on the left? When users struggle, even for a second, to find what they need, they will most likely leave your site. Garrett knows just how to avoid that.
There are 5 Planes that Garrett identifies in learning how to solve user experience problems. These planes build on each other and each effect the final outcome and usability of the site.
- Strategy: what the people running the site and users want to get out of the site
- Scope: features and functions made available to the user on the site
- Structure: how users got to the site and where they can go when they are finished
- Skeleton: beneath the surface; placement of buttons, controls, photos, text, etc.
- Surface: what you see on the surface as a user of the site
For example, when I think of user experience, I think Google. It is simple, but it does the job. I would choose Google over a search engine like Yahoo every day. Here is why: Google does what I need it to do…and nothing more. When I go to Google I usually just need to find something and find it quick. And Google most likely has all the information found on Yahoo, but in a more user-friendly design.
What do you think?