Many parts of applications are rarely experienced, yet we have to consider how the presence or absence of these states affect a user’s experience. It’s the UX designer’s job to go beyond visual design and make the best experience possible—including all the parts of the experience that nobody thinks to design.
Dashboard design is an art and takes some time to master. The challenge is to communicate analytics in a straightforward way, while allowing users to drill down into the specifics. It is about avoiding clutter, about catering for personalization, and about the prioritization of the right metrics. Dashboard design is a tricky science and to create that one design that is awesome takes some time and talent.
I’m writing this from a slightly saddened perspective, revisiting my favorite SNES RPGs and realizing something:
I’ve been spoiled by modern UX design.
It can be hard for designers to take a step back and look at an app or website through users’ eyes. Here’s where to start.
After any amount of time in the design industry, you’ll most certainly hear someone refer to users as “dumb.” People talk about having to “dumb down” interfaces, design for “the lowest common denominator,” and try to make applications “idiot-proof.”
If you haven’t already incorporated usability into your product design process, you might wonder why it is necessary. After all, it’s certainly possible to release a working, bug-free product without performing any usability work at all. But incorporating user-centered design principles can lead to a much-improved product in several areas.
Summary: Game testing researches the notion of fun. Compared with mainstream UX studies, it involves many more users and relies more on biometrics and custom software. The most striking findings from the Games User Research Summit were the drastic age and gender differences in motivation research.
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.
One of the best books I’ve ever read on User Experiences is titled “The Elements of User Experience” written by Jesse James Garrett. In the book, he begins by telling the story of a man who wakes up and wonders why his alarm clock never went off. He goes to make coffee, but struggles with the coffeemaker. On his way to work, he stops for gas, but can’t get his credit card to work and has to stand in a long line to pay. When he is finally on his way, he is detoured due to an accident and arrives far later than he ever anticipated. He ends up irritated, sweaty, and lacking a much needed cup of coffee.
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.”
“So, Megan, what do you do?”
What a loaded question, geeze. I do lots of things. I run. I eat. I hang out with my 5 rabbits (yeah, they’re awesome). Everyone asks me this question at every networking event, and I still don’t have a succinct, articulate answer. I usually reply with something along the lines of,
“I do user research and product strategy consulting for early stage startups.”