That’s according to Jason Hreha, author of “Nine User-Experience Tips to Rule them All.” Jason’s article was pointed out to me by News on Monday reader Mohan Arun, as a follow-up to my comments from a couple of weeks ago, “You know it when you see it.”
Let me share a couple of Jason’s tips; see his blog for the full list:
• Copy is design, too. The way that you describe and label the product is just as important as the visual design + feature set. It’s particularly important in getting users to sign up. People want to know exactly what you will do for them, and how you will do it, within seconds of landing on your website or app page.
• Garish usually wins. Forget minimalist, simple design. For some products it works, for most it doesn’t. The most important thing in a product is accessibility—I should be able to quickly do what I want to do, and there should be a clear call to action for each main user desire.
Good stuff, Jason. Right on the money.
On the same subject, the Microsoft Windows Dev Center has an excellent article, “How to Design a Great User Experience,” with 19 powerful ideas. Here are a few; you should read the full list:
• Design experiences, not features. Design experiences from beginning to end, not just individual features. And maintain your standards throughout the entire product experience. For example, if your program’s setup is hard to use and is buggy, users will assume your program is hard to use and buggy too. Why should they assume otherwise?
• Make the hard decisions. Do you really need that feature, command, or option? If so, do it well. If not, cut it! Don’t avoid difficult decisions by making everything optional or configurable.
• Make it responsive. Your program’s responsiveness is crucial to its overall experience—users find unnecessarily slow and unresponsive programs unusable. For every feature where performance is an issue, first understand your users’ goals and expectations, then choose the lightest-weight design that achieves these goals. Generally, tasks that can take longer than 10 seconds need more informative feedback and the ability to cancel. Keep in mind that users’ perception of speed is just as important as the actual speed, and the perception of speed is primarily determined by how quickly a program becomes responsive.
Once you’re through with that, see Susan Weinschenk’s articles in UX Magazine and also her blog on the psychology of user experiences.
One takeaway from Susan’s writing is this nugget from the article, “The Five Worst UX Mistakes Websites Make”:
• Putting too much Time into designing your home page. I’m as guilty as anyone of this. You put a lot of time and energy into designing and redesigning the home page of your website (versus all your other pages). But it’s possible, even likely, that few people are even seeing your home page. Your marketing and social media campaigns likely send your visitors to other landing pages. Of course you want a well-designed home page, but don’t sacrifice the user experience of other important inside pages by pouring so much time and energy into the home page. Use your analytics to see where people are really entering your site and then make sure those pages are the best they can be.
Share your favorite UX design must-do and must-not-do tips with me at email@example.com.
Alan Zeichick, founding editor of SD Times, is principal analyst of Camden Associates.