Over the last few week’s I have covered a number of fundamental design concepts that have helped build a solid foundation for my website. I have come up with some exciting ideas which I believe increase the overall user experience and consider to be progressive design, but how do I know the user will feel the same way? Features which I believe improve the experience of my website may not be seen as useful from the user’s perspective. This issue is called Performance Versus Preference (Lidwell et al. 2010, p.180). Some of the unique ideas developed may be seen as unnecessary to the user and may detract from the experience. Users understand and become attached to common design elements, simply put some users feel comfortable with familiar features and see no point for improvement brought to a design (Lidwell et al. 2010, p.180). This is why we should test our designs and seek feedback; we can gather feedback from users and also internal stakeholders. This valuable information can be used to influence all elements of our design and help deliver a final outcome that can be appreciated internally and by users alike.
Going back to the very beginning of our design project we should start by spending time assembling and communicating with different parties involved. This helps to understand and create a product that meets the client’s brief and expectations. In 2012 a team of independent consultants from Deloitte spoke at the Service Design conference about their experience in designing the NAB retail store outlets. The interesting way in which they approached this project was by combining their own expertise as independent consultants with NAB internal staff and NAB customers a method known as blended design teams (UX Events 2012). Blended design teams are devised to create an open forum where specialists from different fields and customers can interact. As designer’s we can use this process to take on board collected data and different opinions helping influence aspects of our designs. One of the most interesting points raised by the consulting team from Deloitte was when discussing how to bring separate ideas forward raised by the blended team. The team from Deloitte wanted all these ideas and moving parts to “Interplay with one another to deliver an experience” (UX Events 2012). This idea has fascinated me and I started to wonder how I would go about testing my design in a similar fashion and who would be involved in the process. One of the first steps would be to gather stakeholders and even potential users to help understand the exact purpose of the project so we can meet the client’s requirements (Jesmond & Chudley 2012). The Basketball Diaries blended design team would consist of the owners, investors, sponsors, marketing department, journalists, sports agents, players and users of the website (Jesmond & Chudley 2012). By talking to a broad range of people with interests internal and external to the website I can take on board each parties needs and ideas in an attempt to maximise the design of the site affecting the aesthetics, functionality and usability of the website.
Gaining awareness from a variety of different sources “bolsters your knowledge” (UX Events 2012) and gives us the designer a greater opportunity to represent the client’s wishes and subject matter in a positive light that organically engage the needs of our users. Taking the time to understand user preferences and invested parties interests in my project with an open mind helps build a successful foundation which will lead to a final product that suits both stakeholders and users.
Hodda, O 2012 “Deloitte NAB blended design team” [image], slideshare, viewed 27 January 2017, <http://www.slideshare.net>.
Jesmond, A & Chudley, J 2012, Smashing UX Design Foundations for Designing Online User Experiences, Hoboken : Wiley 2012.
Lidwell, W Holden, K & Butler, J 2010, Universal principles of design: 125 ways to enhance usability, influence perception, increase appeal, make better design decisions, and teach through design, Rockport Publishers, Beverly, MA.
UX Events 2012, UX Australia Service Design 2012 conference, viewed 27 January 2017, <http://www.uxaustralia.com.au/servicedesign-2012/blended-design-teams>.