— Steve Krug
Usability improves as the product design incorporates user research findings along with proven usability and interaction design principles.
How easy is it to use a product? Usability measures how easy or difficult it is for a person to use that product. There are five aspects to usability with principles you should follow:
How easy is it for users to accomplish basic tasks the first time they encounter the design?
Once users have learned the design, how quickly can they perform tasks?
When users return to the design after a period of not using it, how easily can they reestablish proficiency?
How many errors do users make, how severe are these errors, and how easily can they recover from the errors?
How pleasant is it to use the design?
Source: 10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design, Jakob Nielsen, April 1994
Growth Design's psychology of design: 101 cognitive biases & principles that affect your UX (with examples and tips).
Aesthetic impressions are instantaneous — taking less than 50 milliseconds to form. Aesthetic designs are:
Named after psychologist Paul Fitts, who demonstrated that fast movements and smaller targets were prone to more error than larger targets and shorter distances.
Named after psychologists Edmund Hick and Ray Hyman, who found a relationship between the number of stimuli and a human's reaction time.
Gestalt psychology studies how humans interpret the world and have given us principles or "laws of perceptual organization" which point us toward organization that will allow our digital products to feel intuitive. Here we discuss the categories of common region, proximity, similarity, continuity and connectedness, and closure.
Elements will be perceived as groups if they share an area with clearly defined boundary.
People tend to group elements together that are near to each other.
People understand elements that look alike to be a group or pattern.
Elements either connected with a line or aligned in a line or along a soft curve will be perceived to be more related than elements that appear random or follow a sharp curve.
Humans want a full picture and the human brain will fill in gaps.
Well-chosen metaphors help people learn or intuit how a digital product works, because they creates a bridge connecting the unfamiliar with the familiar.
"People learn more quickly when an app’s virtual objects and actions are metaphors for familiar experiences — whether rooted in the real or digital world" (Source: Apple's iOS Human Interface Guidelines). On mobile devices, the user's ability to manipulate on-screen content as they drag and swipe content, is metaphor in action.
Relates to the usability principle: Learnability
Increase the signal-to-noise ratio by simplifying designs, allowing the useful information (signal) to 'speak' louder than the noise.
Successful digital products grant users control over the interface while also enabling them to make best decisions.
"An app can make people feel like they’re in control by keeping interactive elements familiar and predictable, confirming destructive actions, and making it easy to cancel operations, even when they’re already underway" (Source: Apple's iOS Human Interface Guidelines).
Relates to the usability principles: Errors and Efficiency
— Mark Twain
User personas, journey maps and user testing are design tools we use to build empathy with users and their needs.
We strive to continually refine our understanding of user needs in order to solve for actual problems and needs. No one tool or test can give a full accounting of user needs, so we use a variety of methods and tools to sharpen our understanding.
To build on our understanding of the needs of visitors and improve the OPTN website, the UNOS Design and User Experience Team conducted five focus group sessions in January and February 2020 and tree tests in August 2020 to evaluate and propose ways to improve the OPTN website navigation.
Additional findings for UNet apps, Data Services reports, video, and email
Full report (For internal use only)
Developed from user research, a persona is a "fictional, yet realistic, description of a typical or target user of the product" that enables designers and developers to have a shared reference point to guide design decisions.
Choose details that will help inform design decisions. A photo humanizes this tool and is a memory aid for developers and designers. Goals and challenges point to pain points. Quotes can capture an attitude.
A journey map traces the steps a user takes to reach a goal or complete a task. A journey map can be created for multiple user personas in order to understand how goals or needs vary.
Creating a journey map and the resulting artifact builds empathy for the users, reveals design opportunities, and is a memorable summary that helps the design and development team und user needs and pain points.
Learn more: Journey mapping 101 article and video and template.
An example of a simplistic, high-level customer-journey map depicting how the persona “Jumping Jamie” switches her mobile plan. While all comprehensive journey maps should include key components, what the map chooses to prioritize can (and should) depend on the goal of the journey-mapping initiative.
User testing, also called usability testing, is watching a user complete a task on a digital product (at any stage of development) in order to discover usability issues. Ultimately, we are testing the design, not the user.