Some people mistakenly use the terms user experience and usability almost interchangeably. However, usability is increasingly being used to refer specifically to the ease with which users can complete their intended tasks, and is closely associated with usability testing. Therefore, many perceive usability to be a rather tactical aspect of product design. In contrast, UX professionals use the term user experience much more broadly, to cover everything ranging from ease of use to user engagement to visual appeal. User experience better captures all of the psychological and behavioral aspects of users’ interactions with products.
To help define the objectives and scope of user experience efforts, as well as enable their meaningful measurement, I would like to propose a conceptual framework that describes four distinct elements of user experience, as shown in Figure 1, and how they interact with one another in driving better product designs. Read More
Recently, Office Depot redesigned their search user interface, adding attribute-based filtering and creating a more dynamic, interactive user experience. Unfortunately, Office Depot’s interaction design misses some key points, making their new search user interface less usable and, therefore, less effective. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the Office Depot site presents us with an excellent case study for demonstrating some of the important best practices for designing filters for faceted search results, as follows:
Decide on your filter value-selection paradigm—either drill-down or parallel selection.
Provide an obvious and consistent way to undo filter selection.
Always make all filters easily available.
At every step in the search workflow, display only filter values that correspond to the available items, or inventory.
Provide filter values that encompass all items, or the complete inventory.
By following the attribute-based filtering design best practices this article describes, you can ensure your customers can take care of business without having to spend time struggling with your search user interface. Read More
Throughout my career as a user experience designer, I have continually asked myself three questions:
What should my deliverables be?
Will my deliverables provide clarity to me and their audience?
Where do my deliverables and other efforts fit within the spectrum of UX design?
I have found that, if I do not answer these questions prior to creating a deliverable, my churn rate increases and deadlines slip.
When attempting to answer the third question, I use a framework I discovered early in my career: The Five Competencies of User Experience Design.PDF This framework comprises the competencies a UX professional or team requires. The following sections describe these five competencies, outline some questions each competency must answer, and show the groundwork and deliverables for which each competency is responsible. Read More