Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Product pages: so much suck, so easy to fix

A view through the eyes of a user and an experience designer ...

"The phrase “user experience” is quite a mouthful. Even the acronym is kinda scary: UX, UXP, or sometimes UXD (D for “design”). It pretty much looks and sounds like the noise you make when you puke. Paradoxically, this means that “user experience” actually has a negative user experience — because, you see, the very premise behind the discipline is to make people’s lives better, happier, and easier, and thinking about puking generally does none of these things (UXP! Hello again, dinner!). The idea goes, if you make your users’ lives better, they’ll make your life better in return. Sometimes even with money! Even aside from the acronym/upchuck problem, UX(P/D) is indeed a discipline with a bit of an identity crisis. Is it design? Is it marketing? Is it user interface? Is it business analysis? Is it sitting around a campfire, holding hands and singing kumbaya?

The short answer is: Yes.

The long answer is a bit more complicated, and reads much like the ultimate chapter of Ulysses.

But I assume you’re not on Vitamin because you’re in the mood for Joyce, so this is a practical article, with a real, honest-to-god purpose. Real world applicability, even! And also commas.

In the next 20 or so minutes, you’re going to jog, climb, and tire-hop through a UX boot-camp that will leave you with some practical new knowledge that you can immediately put to use. (And hopefully not thinking about puking, even a little bit.) Even better, you’ll be learning through the time-honored tradition of ripping apart other people’s work as an object lesson.

Programmers, marketers and biz folk: pause before you run away. You may find that these ideas are useful to you, too.
First Experiences Last a Lifetime

Your mother always told you first impressions count, and the same is true of web sites. You don’t get a lot of time to sell yourself to a potential customer who loads your page; most people are lazy, and more importantly, impatient. You have to go the extra mile, because they won’t (and that is the natural and proper order of things). All the research seems to indicate that you have mere seconds to convince a shopper that he or she just has to have what you’re selling (or offering for download), to hook ’em and leave ’em wanting more, but not too much more.

Thanks to their huge relative importance, first-load experiences are so easy to get wrong. On the other hand, they’re easy to improve, too. You can extract a lot of value from just a few simple changes. And that’s what we’ll be focusing on today.
User Experience Basics

We’ll get to the practicum in just a moment but first, let’s talk — very briefly — about some super basic UX tenets:

* Be nice to your users and customers (and potential customers).
* Design as if your main goal is to inform and educate.
* Be honest and forthcoming, while you’re at it.
* Help your users and customers to do what they want, not what you want them to do.
* Be consistent with your message and quality of service (and I’m including software design here, folks).
* Scientific, measurable “usability” doesn’t necessarily make for a good experience.
* Good design makes people feel good.

Keep these ideas in mind as we move through the rest of the article (in other words, now’s the time for the obstacle course: look alive!)."    (Continued via Guuui, Vitamin)    [Usability Resources]

Reading user's mind selecting a browser. - Usability, User Interface Design

Reading user's mind selecting a browser.

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