Now that Cooper has an office in New York, we find ourselves using video conferencing much more than previously. I attend three recurring video conference meetings every week, plus several ad hoc ones. Just about every meeting involves technical difficulties, delay, confusion, and dissatisfaction for all the parties participating.
User experience (UX) design focuses on enhancing user satisfaction by improving how we interact with the websites, applications and devices in our lives. In other words, UX makes complex things easy to use.
While the term “UX” is relatively new, the concept of user-friendly design has been around for generations. “Good design is good business,” the second president of IBM, Thomas J. Watson, famously told Wharton students in 1973. “We are convinced,” he said, “that good design can materially help make a good product reach its full potential.”
The new Obamacare website, HealthCare.gov, has been getting much media attention over the past few weeks due to flaws in the user experience after its launch. Heavy traffic, network problems, and design flaws have hampered users from shopping for health insurance. Many agree that the new website presents a fragmented user-experience, which was not tested properly before its launch.
As much as you may love video games and the stories they help you tell, it’s impossible to escape the fact that much of your experience is a trick of the mind.
The thing that separates video games from other forms of media, the ability to interact with and perhaps shape a virtual world, is mostly powered by the artificial intelligence of the characters that populate that experience.
But at its best gaming artificial intelligence systems, AI expert David Mark says, are, like 2-year-olds, basically sociopaths. What he means is that they are intrinsically anti-social. Getting past that problem doesn’t mean imbuing a character with personality, it means tricking gamers.
Summary: Many guidelines are similar for mobile and desktop design, but their mobile interpretation is much more unforgiving.
My recent column Mobile Content: If in Doubt, Leave It Out advised site owners to eliminate secondary material when writing for mobile users. Many tweets, blog postings, and other comments on the article all expanded on this theme: Yes, do cut the fluff from mobile content, but also cut secondary content when writing for desktop websites.
In one way, I can only agree. Since 1997, conciseness has been a key guideline when writing for the web. People don’t read a lot on the web and leave in a few seconds if a site doesn’t communicate its value clearly. These findings lead to more detailed guidelines, such as emphasizing the first 2 words of nanocontent (e.g., headlines and search engine links).
So yes, cut the blah-blah from your desktop site.
User-centered design (UCD) is an approach for employing usability. It is a structured product development methodology that involves users throughout all stages of Web site development, in order to create a Web site that meets users’ needs. This approach considers an organization’s business objectives and the user’s needs, limitations, and preferences.