User Experience & the Next Technological Platform

Reading: The Elements of User Experience by Jesse James Garrett, Chapters 1-2

You know how many of the iPhone’s features were so new, yet so practical? The technology was effortless to learn because it took everyday things from our lives, like flipping pages in a book, opening a lock, typing on a typewriter, and putting them behind a touch screen. Steve Jobs designed the software based on human needs and wants first, and he found a way to make the technology fit in from there. That’s the genius behind the idea: he designed something that we the customer would gravitate towards because this new technology was surprising easy to navigate. The future of technology is user-centered design: take the user into account every step of the way. Before designers worry about the gadgets within a product, they’ll now research how the customer will interact with the product. That’s where the money is. A key point to remember is that user experience stretches beyond just “gadgets”, everything from web pages to coffee makers to light bulbs have user experience. And the customer is always right.

Here are the 5 planes of user-centered design for the web. 


What you see! You have to pull your audience in based on your ability to create something visually appealing.



This deals with the placement of buttons, text, margins, etc. Its the arrangement of the website,  and it should be arranged for maximum effect and efficiency.



This is a more complex skeleton. Where the skeleton decides where the navigation plane will be, the structure dives deeper than that, marking out exactly where each tab could take you



Who is this site for, and how will you effectively reach that audience?



What do you as the designer want to gain from this site? An internship? A job? Publicity?

Making sure all of these layers coincide is a task, but it will make your website even more effective.




This diagram shows how the layers coincide from most to least concrete. When designers make sure that all of the elements in the bottom layers (the ones below the surface) are set in stone and function correctly, the design process becomes much simpler because there isn’t a need to go back and redesign anything.




Discussion Questions

1. What do you think about user-centered design?

2. Which one of the planes of user-centered design for web are you most interested in and why?


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