11 Apr The Rest of UX – Part Two
If you Google “Web Design”, “App Design” or any combination of them, chances are you will stumble upon some blogs about UX, UI and a plethora other acronyms. Some of these will likely have described “UX” or User-Experience as simply the “look” of a website or app, or the basic functions of how it works.
This is all fine and great – and while technically correct, it buries the lead. UX literally means User Experience – so how can an entire experience be distilled into button shapes and a loading animation?
Part Two: Accessibility & The Point
A huge and often overlooked part of a website’s UX is accessibility. This does not just mean legible text or contrast (though this sometimes is nowhere to be found). Without getting too broad, accessibility in UX means everything to everyone. If your site is designed with low contrasting colours, it is inaccessible and a bad user experience – because someone with poor eyesight or colour blindness can’t even properly access it. The same goes for silly Shakespearian English in body copy – it all ties together.
The easiest comparison to this is in books and their “readability”. Ever read a book and got a headache? There’s a good chance it was the layout of the book’s fault, unless it says “Twilight” on the cover.
Books set with too large or small a typeface, combined with off-brand margin sizes and leading can become a strain on the eyes and actually give you a headache. The combination of UX and Accessibility is the digital age’s version of a well set book. There’s a reason most books look the same once you crack them open – it’s what we’re comfortable with, and what we’ve become accustomed to as readers.
This leads to another component – subversion. Designs and Programmers will always feel the need to create and go against the norm – and this should be encouraged (to a point). The problem is when basic understanding of function is subverted. Buttons aren’t just there because everyone is too lazy to make a cool link – users are trained to click buttons. If you trade that for some cool alternative, it may look great, but people won’t know what to do. A generation of super-users are realizing that not everyone knows how to navigate themselves out of an unfamiliar digital landscape – and will likely just abandon the app or site all together.
UX means the entirety of the USER’S EXPERIENCE. If you can think it, it can happen, and it can be the deciding factor in a user’s loyalty or disdain. Keep those cool transitions on buttons and flows that guide me through a sign up process – just remember, that my “experience” doesn’t stop there.