I haven’t talked about user experience fundamentals in quite some time. This is a bit of a re-run to some of my long time readers, but I feel that there is the need to rewrite some concepts every now and then, so that the information is up-to-date.
So, what are the three most important fundamentals in UX, and why?
#1 Consistency in UI
UI isn’t all there is to UX, but it’s a big part of it. User interface is the bridge between the user and the Ux software that lives beneath it. It represents the output of the software and the inputs the users apply to the software.
Therefore, it’s important to make sure that the UI is properly designed. This means that the layout needs to be consistent from one page to the next, with proper sizing, alignment, color scheme, font, labels and even spacing. Functions, such as shortcut keys, also need to be consistent.
#2 Logical Navigation and Flow
Navigation and flow can be defined as the order of operations through which tasks are performed by the user. Obviously the order needs to make sense. If the order of operations is non-intuitive or varies greatly from one task to the next, the user will be confused. Confusion leads to less proficient, less efficient and less satisfied users. Create a basic understanding of how the software works and the user will be successful.
You need to prototype the UI and the flow and navigation for your UI and UX before implementing new versions. Is it logical? Make changes to the original designs before releasing the final version. Trying to fix this after-the-fact is more tedious and frustrating for both user and developer.
#3 Applying User Innovations
Users, as they continue to use your software, will find new and innovative ways to perform tasks. They will come up with creative solutions using existing functionalities. If the users’ methods are better than your own and would enhance the value of the software (to other users or businesses), then implement it. User-discovered processes occur all the time, so watch for them.
Adobe is famous for this (although they are really slow about implementation). Devote UX resources to observing user innovations, implementing them into new versions and updates.
I have outlined the most important user experience fundamentals. Are there any other basic UX fundamentals? Let me know!