Book Image

UX for the Web

By : Marli Ritter, Cara Winterbottom
Book Image

UX for the Web

By: Marli Ritter, Cara Winterbottom

Overview of this book

If you want to create web apps that are not only beautiful to look at, but also easy to use and fully accessible to everyone, including people with special needs, this book will provide you with the basic building blocks to achieve just that. The book starts with the basics of UX, the relationship between Human-Centered Design (HCD), Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), and the User-Centered Design (UCD) Process; it gradually takes you through the best practices to create a web app that stands out from your competitors. You’ll also learn how to create an emotional connection with the user to increase user interaction and client retention by different means of communication channels. We’ll guide you through the steps in developing an effective UX strategy through user research and persona creation and how to bring that UX strategy to life with beautiful, yet functional designs that cater for complex features with micro interactions. Practical UX methodologies such as creating a solid Information Architecture (IA), wireframes, and prototypes will be discussed in detail. We’ll also show you how to test your designs with representative users, and ensure that they are usable on different devices, browsers and assistive technologies. Lastly, we’ll focus on making your web app fully accessible from a development and design perspective by taking you through the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
Table of Contents (19 chapters)
Title Page
About the Authors
About the Authors
About the Reviewer
Customer Feedback

Chapter 1. The Fundamentals of UX

User experience (UX) is a popular term in the digital industry; everyone uses it freely in meetings. Business, marketing, design, and development all understand the importance of the user's experience with the digital product they're creating. Building a website or mobile app with an enjoyable user experience sounds simple enough, but this is where most organizations and teams get it wrong. When non-UX professionals speak of what they feel as a better user experience for a specific feature, they usually refer to their own experience as a user in terms of what makes sense to them personally when interacting with that feature, or it's merely their perception of what they feel the targeted user will enjoy and how they will interact with this feature. This perspective is not usually plausible because the person making these assumptions might not represent the actual target market, and their needs might not be the same as the intended user who will be using this feature.

Take, for example, a request that comes in from a business to implement search functionality on a travel website. A team of designers and developers are brainstorming this new feature. The designers feel a better user experience is to focus on UI elements, such as iconography, to give visual cues for guiding the user on how to use the search functionality, while the developers might focus on an additional filter component to narrow search results. Both of these approaches can definitely improve the user experience, but these are, in fact, only personal opinions based on their field of study and experience. The usability of the search component will only really be apparent if it’s tested with real users that interact with this search functionality. The outcome of the user testing can potentially result in the iconography cluttering the UI or the additional filter component not being used at all to find the expected result.

UX is a broad discipline with an intricate set of interlinked components that contribute to the overall experience a user will have with a digital product, however, the core focus is usability. Usability is one of the key components that drive an enjoyable user experience. So what exactly is usability? According to The International Organization for Standardization, ISO 9241 Ergonomics of Human-System Interaction, the definition of usability is:

The effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction with which specified users achieve specified goals in particular environments. Effectiveness is the accuracy and completeness with which specified users can achieve specified goals in particular environments. Efficiency is the resources expended in relation to the accuracy and completeness of the goals achieved. Satisfaction is the comfort and acceptability of the work system to its users and other people affected by its use.

From the preceding definition, it’s clear that usability is not just related to technology, like the usability of websites or mobile apps, but is applicable to everything around us, such as the TV remote or the microwave oven. To understand how this term can be so broad, we'll look at a brief history of UX to discover the origins of human interaction with an object, be it a shovel or a computer. Before we get started following is a list of topics that will be covered in this chapter:

  • History of UX and the rise of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)
  • Design Thinking and Human-Centered Design (HCD)
  • User-Centered Design (UCD) Process and User-Driven Development (UDD)
  • Software Development Methodologies
  • Lean UX versus Agile UX
  • UX & Design Disciplines
  • Unique attributes of a User Experience (UX) Designer and a User Interface (UI) Designer