While navigating a well-designed user experience feels organic and natural, the science behind that end result is very much a deliberate effort. Assumptions and whims make User Experience (UX) Designers squirm. Instead, we prefer making design decisions based on evidence and data, but when we can’t perform our own research by observing the behaviors of users, we can still avoid “guessing” what users want by following basic UX principles as we design digital systems. Many of those principles are based on well-documented studies, but some of the studies are misunderstood and misapplied to digital design.
The mug on my desk talks to me.
Its size and weight tell me I can grasp and lift it. The flatness of its bottom tells me it’s okay to set it on my desk. Its hollowness encourages me to fill it (with any variety of stuff: coffee, pens, paperclips, marbles). The shape of its handle tells me how to lift it without burning my hand. It’s hard but breakable, so that tells me that I should probably not use it to hammer nails.
Things communicate how they can be used, in an ancient language that we understand instinctively. Let’s explore this communication a bit in terms of the practice of user-experience design.Read More