Do you remember the first time you picked up an iPhone? I do.
If you’re like me, you’ll remember the awe you felt when you comprehended the power of being able to browse the web using a full-featured, zoomable, mobile browser for the first time. If, like me, you hadn’t used a touch device before, you probably marveled at how seamless it was to launch the Phone app, enter the number on the touchpad, and watch it dial. It was so different from every other phone you’d used, but you still knew how to use it straight away. It was usable, it was intuitive, and it felt right.
Designing a user interface that is usable and feels intuitive does not happen in Photoshop. It takes research, discussion, collaboration, sketching, prototyping, testing, prototyping again, and testing some more. The visual design of the iPhone and its iOS siblings may look slick, but it’s the effort that has gone into the design behind the visuals that is far more important to the experience than the pixels you see and touch. Visual design is the icing on the cake; creating the cake itself is an entirely different process.
I’ll let you in on a little secret, though: the skills you need to design an interface that is usable and intuitive can be taught, and it turns out they’re not that difficult. In fact, they’re mostly very straightforward, and require little to no technical background. Creating a usable experience for your users is a process, which means it can be replicated. Follow that process, and your users will love your product. Steer from the course, and you’ll feel the wrath of frustrated and disgruntled users who feel confused, betrayed, and want their money back (or maybe they won’t tell you—they just won’t come back).
This site is for web designers who want to learn the process and skills required to design intuitive, usable interfaces. I say web designer, because it’s more commonly understood, but I believe these skills can be applied to websites, mobile apps and desktop applications—even physical products. Learning them will make you a better user experience designer.
It’s also worth noting that we’ll try very hard not to make too many assumptions—if you’re a newcomer to web or mobile design, welcome! A career as a UX designer is interesting, challenging, pays well, and has a low barrier of entry. And if you’re already an accomplished user experience designer, then maybe you’ll teach us a thing or two along the way. After all, the goal posts in this industry are constantly changing, and we always welcome your feedback. Contact us here.
I’d love you to share your most memorable user experience with me in the comments. It could be a website, a mobile app, or a desktop application. Tell me why it left such an impression on you. I may expand on your comment in a future post.