UX design is about the Users Experience and how they feel when using a website, web application or a desktop application. Does the User Interface (UI) make sense? Is it easy for user to navigate? Is it what a user would expect to see? Would the user use it again? The answers to these questions should all be yes!. It’s a really important aspect when designing for that human-computer interaction (HCI) to make it the best experience as possible, although what might be ideal for one user may frustrate another. Either way it needs to be user centric.
What better way to know what users think of your website than getting them to test it. This is where the usability testing play a massive part in UX design. There’s a website called WhatUsersDo, where companies and users sign up and the users can test websites. The company that the users are testing for will set instructions on what they want the user to do. The test gets recorded visually with sound as the users conducting the tests are expected to give a commentary on what they are doing and what they are thinking while going through this process.
There are other methods of monitoring what your users are doing through the likes of Google Analytics and other software like ClickTale, which will record users on your site, unknown to them, how they use the site and you can also look at heat maps. These heat maps are based around the mouse movement. As we as humans with computer interaction tent to use the mouse pointer in accordance with our eyes, so, where our eyes are looking will be where the mouse is. This would them show, in theory, what are the “hot” areas users are looking at on your site.
Here are two really good articles about UX design that I found interesting. The one on Smashing Magazines website goes into a lot of detail about what UX design is and why UX design is so important. This other article by Cheryl Platz, who is Senior User Experience Designer for Microsoft, is quite short in comparison but really interesting. She tells us her story of UX design.
What is Information Architecture?
Information architecture works along side UX design, Web design and Web development to ensure that the website is structurally set up. Deciding who your target audience are and what you want your website to do, then create a blueprint and implement the user centric aspects. Making sure that the users can easily navigate through the site and easily discover content that the user is looking for.
I have found a few good articles and a tutorial about Information Architecture which I like because of the in depth information that they give, how it works and why it is so important.
Wireframes are an important part of web design and build as it shows how your imagine the site to look. Below are 3 different types of wireframes and my thoughs on them.
This box layout wireframe will show the ideas of the site and what pages it would link to but I don’t think that this would be the right way to present to a client as there isn’t anything visual about how the page/pages would look.
This hand drawn wireframe has some sort of visual element to how it would look but is a bit to busy and may be a bit to confusing to get across what you want it to look like.
This wireframe I believe would be the best method of showing how you see the page set out. It gives you a better understanding on how it would be set out and it could be shown on a screen so, to me, would be able to imagine what the design would look like on top of that frame.