By the time I had sat through my third panel discussion at
this year’s SXSW Interactive festival moderated or participated in by someone
listed as “John Smith, Director of UX,” I was like “OK, does UX stand for what
I think it does?” Yup. UX = User Experience.
As the web evolves and becomes a media-rich environment
with so many ways to interact, we’re not looking at UI (User Interface) experts
or IA (Information Architecture) folks anymore to tell us how our sites should
work to benefit our users. The overall user experience has become king.
Interface, architecture, design, programming: toss them all in a bowl, mix
well, and you’ll end up with the User Experience.
Jared Spool’s talk on the “Journey to the Center of Design”
provided me three core UX attributes that ensure good product
These attributes can be seen as a set of three questions all
developers should ask themselves during a project:
- Can everyone on the
project team describe the experience of using your design five years from now?
That’s vision, and it provides a way to measure understanding.
In the last six
weeks, have you ACTUALLY watched people use your product, or a competitor’s
product? That’s feedback, and guarantees you don’t lose the forest for the
In the last six
weeks, have you rewarded a team member for creating a major design failure? When
you reward certain failures, you give employees a chance to LEARN without
fear. This is good culture and ensures
you always thinking critically, not just cranking out the same old stuff.
When building an online product,
it’s important to take the time to gauge yourself on the core attributes of
UX design, to gain better understand of the experience you're creating. To learn more about these components, you can check out Spool’s