A set of guidelines developed for a large Web development team to ensure consistency and good design across pages within and between Web sites. Effective Web standards include the design of page types and general presentation rules as well as rules of how and when to use the guidelines.
Refers to the overall page layout and its ability to lead the user’s attention through the page elements. Effective visual hierarchies create an appropriate balance in composition that draws users to top levels of the hierarchy while optimizing visual access to important page level elements.
Our passion and mission at UX Design Group! User Satisfaction is a metric of usability which focuses on how well the user perceives the interface to work and how well it meets his/her needs.
A general description of a user group for a specific interface. Typically includes characteristics which may influence design choices, such as: Demographic Characteristics, Education, Language, Computer Experience, Domain Experience, Motivation, or Expectations.
A term used to refer to the basic content organization of the site and it’s navigation model. To be differentiated from the page level content, the user interface structure defines the “containers” for content and means for navigation to it.
Design methodology in which interviews and empirical tests of users’ needs determine the characteristics of a design or computer application.
A method of collecting data to develop an understanding of user intentions and interface use patterns. User-centered analysis provides concrete data to prioritize and drive interface design.
Refers to a mindset that focuses primarily on UX rather than features.
Each participant interacts with a Web site from his or her location with a computer. Instructions and information about tasks to be performed are provided in a special area of the browser. Special buttons may be added to the browser to enable participants to provide additional information via small questionnaires. No test facilitator is involved.
An interview strategy in which participants are asked to narrate their activities as they complete a task simultaneously so that the interviewer can develop a better understanding of the user’s mental model, decision criteria and expectations for a task or task flow.
Diagrams that show the various user tasks and their interrelationships.
The process of reducing a task or activity to determine the conditions in which the task is conducted and the criteria for successful completion. Task analysis provides the foundation for appropriate functional allocation with a logically sequenced task flow. Task analysis serves to optimize task efficiency by reflecting the users understanding and expectations for the task. This provides the infrastructure for the information architecture. Task analysis is also useful for spotting potential errors and bottlenecks in the current task process by identifying limiting factors which will likely preclude successful task completion.
An indirect user-centered analysis method for gathering information from a large number of users. Issues in survey design include: reaching a representative sample; participant self-filtering; question development and measurement bias; attracting enough responses.
Sketches or other visuals that help depict the design concept you have planned.
A contractual document specifying the work activities or tasks to be conducted for successful completion of a project. Used by a contractor to size, plan and complete a project and used by the organization that procures the services to monitor and control the project.
A map of the Web site, displaying the navigation structure and the interrelationship between pages. Also used in SEO to inform search engine robots of the location of site content.
- A concrete, often narrative description of a user performing a task in a specific context. Often a use scenario describes a desired or to-be-built function. This contrasts with a task-scenario which describes a currently implemented function.
- A prescribed set of conditions under which a user will perform a set of tasks to achieve an objective defined by the developer.
A theory of human problem-solving that says people minimize expended effort by using shortcuts to make decisions. For instance, humans tend to select the first correct answer they encounter rather than rationally and systematically evaluating all possible answers prior to selection.
A monetary evaluation of benefits relative to effort or expenditures; a measure of how much “return”, usually measured as profit or cost savings, results from a given use of money. In the context of UX or usability, ROI is the monetary (or other) benefit gained as a result of an investment in good UX Design.
The first stage of user-centered design, characterized by an evaluation of precursor designs and the gathering of business and user objectives for a new site. Typically includes setting business goals, defining user requirements, and understanding brand objectives.
The Gestalt principle of grouping that states items that are placed close together tend to be perceived as belonging together.
A term given to a set of design areas that focuses on the presentation of information, as opposed to its information value. Presentation topics include layout, color management, graphics and typography. The value of the term “presentation design” is relative; i.e., it is intended to differentiate these topics from other topics for purposes of evaluation and development.
A term used to refer to a set of page components that together form a page designed to solve a specific user need (e.g., a “search and results” page allow a user to query a database and review the results of the query). Page types form the basis of an effective Web standard.
Refers to the arrangement of elements on a page that suggests a hierarchy or sequence.
Based on task design and information architecture definitions developed in conceptual design, navigation design marks the first “formal” step of design. It includes the development of wireframes and graphical mockups to test site structure and visual direction. A set of core navigation pages are designed, tested and iterated during this stage to ensure the user interface structure is sound before investing in detailed design.
Each participant interacts with a Web site from his or her location with a computer. A facilitator provides instructions and information about tasks to be performed. A facilitator observes and participates as needed during the entire test. The moderator and participant usually talk to each other by phone during the test. Often many remote observers can see and hear the same activity as does the moderator.
An internal representation of one’s environment. Users form mental maps to help them navigate in space.
A usability metric which measures how easy it is to remember how to use an application or interface after a period of non-use. Memorability metrics assume that users have used the interface successfully before.
Paper, PowerPoint or other non-interactive mockups of an interface developed early in design. Useful for evaluating the effectiveness of the navigation infrastructure and labels.
A usability metric which measures how easy it is to begin productively using an application or interface. That is, how much – if any – training is required?
A term given to a set of design areas that focus on the interaction value of content, as opposed to its presentation or information value. The interaction topics include Web controls, error handling and feedback systems. The value of the term “interaction design” is relative; i.e., it is intended to differentiate these topics from other topics for purposes of evaluation and development.
Part of the conceptual design stage; primarily associated with defining an organization for web site content (but can include characterizing task flows or task relationships within a content organization). Includes the processes of defining site hierarchies, content organization and labeling schemes for all types of menu systems, and the techniques for creating and evaluating them.
Also known as an expert review. Systematic inspection of a user interface design, measuring it against a set of usability heuristics in order to identify and prioritize usability problems. Comparison of a site with a very short and simple set of general principles. Heuristic reviews are quick and tend to catch a majority of the problems that will be encountered by users. However, expert reviews seldom use real end users so they may miss some interface issues.
A set of principles developed by the Gestalt Psychology movement that established rules governing how humans unconsciously create order from a complex field of objects.
A direct data gathering method in which a small group (8-10) of participants are lead in a semi-structured, brainstorming session to elicit rapid feedback about an interface under development. Focus group data is most useful for generating new ideas or functions for an interface, rather than evaluating an existing one. Group dynamics often make focus group data suspect.
The four focal points of design that evolve during the design process are navigation, content, presentation and interaction design.
A direct data gathering method in which the usability analyst “shadows” an end-user through their day/tasks. Helpful for developing a clear understanding of both the context of the tasks and a compressive environmental analysis.
Represents a system structure as users perceive it. Begins the transition from research and planning into precursors for design including task design and information architecture. Sets the foundation for developing a site navigation framework by clearly defining the users, their tasks and environment, and how they conceptualize information architecture. Includes usability testing of task design and information architecture in its pre-prototype form.
A usability testing strategy in which a developer group systematically evaluates each element on every screen in the context of the various tasks (e.g., how likely would a user be to click this button on Task A? What would happen if they did? etc.).
At UX Design Group, we do more than just design Graphics and Websites; we provide the services you need to grow your business. When you work with UX Design Group, you gain a partner who is your internet expert in the small to medium-sized business arena.
Our staff are all Certified Usability Analysts (CUAs) through Human Factors International. CUAs have demonstrated a clear understanding of research-based principles of designing interfaces from the perspective of the end user. They perform data gathering, task analysis, and usability testing. They pinpoint the usability problems and offer design solutions. The usability analyst brings the critical success factor to bear throughout the development life cycle. That is, designing for the user.
Responsive Design suggests that design and development should respond to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation. The practice consists of a mix of flexible grids and layouts, images and an intelligent use of CSS media queries. As the user switches from their laptop to their mobile device, the website should automatically “respond” to accommodate for resolution, image size and scripting abilities. This eliminates the need for a different design for each new gadget that hits the market.
The Nielsen Norman Group defines UX like this:
“User experience” encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products. The first requirement for an exemplary user experience is to meet the exact needs of the customer, without fuss or bother. Next comes simplicity and elegance that produce products that are a joy to own, a joy to use. True user experience goes far beyond giving customers what they say they want, or providing checklist features. In order to achieve high-quality user experience in a company’s offerings there must be a seamless merging of the services of multiple disciplines, including engineering, marketing, graphical and industrial design, and interface design.”