UXD Notes: What UXD Is (and Isn’t)

To learn more about User eXperience Design, I’m:

  • Taking the Udemy course “User Experience Fundamentals” by Joe Natoli.
  • Reading the book Don’t Make Me Think) by Steve Krug.

According to the timeline I created in a previous post (this is my inner the project manager speaking), I should have this course completed in 11 weeks from now…

This Week’s Learning Takeaways

Disclaimer: My takeaways are not comprehensive of the resources I cite and therefore should not be read in lieu of. If I’m citing resources, I’m recommending them to you. If you like what you read, please support the creator.

User Experience Design Fundamentals: Session 1

What UXD is not:

(I do find it surprising that the instructor starts the course off with negations, but that’s my inner educator speaking…)

  • It isn’t only for designers – every person involved in the creation of a product is involved in its UXD.
  • It isn’t a step in the process – it is the process.
  • It isn’t about technology – all products involve UXD… even bathroom sinks.
  • It isn’t simply about users – the users are one piece of a loop. The product goes out to users, and if it is successful – if users like it and find value in it, the value returns to the producer. There should be constant feedback in the loop.

What UXD is:

(I find information from this session not only helpful for UXD, but also for life in general. It gets into how the amount of cognitive effort a task requires and the clarity of process we understand about it impacts our success with it. I find this particularly true when analyzing my daily to-do list…)

  • A practice, a process, and an outcome.
  • “A positive user experience is one in which the goals of both the user and the organization that created the product are met.” – Jessy James Garet
  • It requires user design, interaction design, visual design, information architecture, front-end development, writing, and user testing.
  • It’s problem-solving – “It’s all about finding the right problems to solve.”
  • “We use things when the steps involved in accomplishing a particular task, no matter how complex they may be, seem simple to us. If it seems like, ‘Yeah, I can do this,’ then it’s likely because something is designed well.”

Why Do We Care About User Design?

  • Bad experiences linger… and get broadcasted on social networks. People will “bail” once they have reason to doubt.
  • Bad experiences are like a used car salesman – he blocks your progress, shows you things you aren’t interested in, and prevents you from getting what you want.

Don’t Make Me Think: Chapters 1-5

  • The title is the guiding principle. If a user has to think about how to use a product, it creates confusion (they don’t know how to use) or distraction (it forces them away from their intended objective) and therefore creates frustration. When frustrated, they ditch it and do not return… bad for business.
  • People scan – they don’t read every word. They don’t read instructions – they “muddle through” on their own.”
  • Think billboard – so clear and efficient that drivers can understand while driving 65mph.
  • “Clarity trumps consistency” – you can have a slight diversion from habit or consistency if making it “significantly clearer.”
  • Use existing conventions (i.e., symbols, icons, formatting structures and hierarchies) – people rely on them to find what they want quickly.
  • Guidance should by brief (only what I need), timely (only when I need it), and unavoidable (easy to find when the time comes).
  • Use only the words you need. Get rid of half of the words on each page, then do it again. (Lose the happy talk and instructions first.)

(I tried to put these guidelines into practice for this entry… Hopefully it was effective!)

Want to learn more? Take a peek at next week’s post!

New Skill Learned: HTML: blockquote

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