Design and Usability

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Information about Design and Usability

Published on June 2, 2016

Author: FrankHannigan2


1. In today’s society where nearly anything and everything can be done online, there are few, if any, reasons for users to have a frustrating experience. All too often however, we experience websites that would benefit from the most basic understanding of design and usability. Here’s a crash course.

2. Know what your users’ core objectives are for visiting your site. Hit rates will tell you which pages were viewed, but that can’t tell you what they wanted to do. Get out there and talk to your users. Engage with your users through interviews, focus groups, and surveys. Analyze the data. Understand the link between what your users need and the value you can provide.

3. Meeting users expectations isn’t rocket science. There are three things you must consider to meet your users’ expectations: 1. Content 2. Information Architecture 3. Interactions. Jakob Nielsen cites success rates as high as 80% and as low as 9% when designers used navigation schemes structured according to users mental models vs. structured according to the company’s internal thinking, respectively. With respect to interactions, there’s a pretty straight forward library of interactions that designers should be following for various platforms.

4. We know that people typically don’t read every word on a website. They scan the site with most attention focused on the top left of the page and decreasing amounts of attention are paid to the lower right. This leads designers to build webpages in an “F” pattern. Users scan in search of key words, objects, or functions that are in- line with their goals for using the website in the first place. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the more elaborate a webpage’s formatting and words are, the less able users are to complete simple navigation tasks. Keep it clean. Keep it concise.

5. It cannot be overstated how important it is for usability researchers, designers, and front-end developers to work together from the outset of a project. It is critical that researchers are able to determine the users’ core objectives and that those needs are translated into a crisp design by designers and developers. Early and often prototype testing with end-users will help refine the requirements and will prevent major changes as the project progresses, which of course, become more costly.

6. As technology advances, considerations need to be made for the human’s ability to interact with various platforms including touchscreens and mobile, augmented and virtual reality, and haptic displays. As these platforms become more mainstream, users will expect seamless integration, requiring those responsible for designing these systems to have an understanding of the limits of human cognition, sensation, perception and other capabilities. QIC can help! Give us a call to see what we can 407-476-7808

7. Frank Hannigan is the Chief Operating Officer at Quantum Improvements Consulting. He has nearly 10 years of experience applying human factors research and principles to the design of critical software systems and websites. One of QIC’s business divisions focuses on human factors engineering. We employ our expertise in human behavior and performance to promote user-centered design and facilitate human-system interaction. Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn and check out QIC’s previous articles on our website!

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