VM Weekly Roundup #thisweekineverything
Welcome to our industry news roundup, where the rubber meets the roadmap.
UX vs. UI Design
UX (User Experience) design and UI (User Interface) design are often talked about almost interchangeably, and that can make it hard to grasp the differences between the two. Both disciplines center the end-user from start to finish. Though this article is technically directed towards software UX and UI design, the principles discussed here are the same for web design. Practically, UX and UI concerns are often handled by the same person when we’re talking about web design.
10 Second Tip: The article’s analogy to building a house is pretty helpful for putting the two disciplines in context. The UI designer is like the architect, designing exactly where each room will go and how the eventual homeowner will be able to move from room to room. The UX designer is the interior decorator, who creates the inside aesthetic that influences the overall look and feel of the home. They work symbiotically together. “UX without UI would be a house that has the right layout and number of rooms but is horribly outdated or run-down. UI without UX would be a beautiful modern, open loft studio would not meet the needs of a large family.”
Test Drive: Keep these 7 facets of UX design in mind when designing your website to create the best possible user experience: 1) Is it useful? 2) Is it usable? 3) Is it desirable? 4) Is it findable? 5) Is it accessible? 6) Is it credible? 7) Is it valuable?
10 UX Design Myths Revealed
This list of UX design myths put together by a Cardiff agency has a few gems worth repeating, even for those of us in the trenches. Just like the web, UX is always evolving. Some of these myths were true (or part true) once.
10 Second Tip: A couple of our favorites: #5: “Your homepage is the most important page. Not always true, especially if you’re practicing SEO best practices on all pages.” These days, if you’re optimizing your pages correctly for search, you have no guarantee that people who find your website will enter through the homepage. Their search query might’ve led them to a direct link to your high-ranking blog post, a services page, or any number of well-optimized pages on your website. #6: “You can design a website without knowing the content.” This one’s a biggie. You can’t create a good user experience without keeping the content needs in mind at all times. Designing an attractive website is important, but a good UX designer knows how to use the layout and visual aesthetic to support and build on the message in your content, never detracting or resorting to mere window dressing.
Test Drive: Take a look at the non-homepage pages of your website and imagine yourself as a new, unfamiliar user. What kind of impression does each page make?
Designing for Accessibility
When it comes to being accessible for those with visual impairment, most of the web could use improvement. That’s largely because web designers haven’t been trained to anticipate the needs of the visually impaired, and industry norms haven’t been firmly established. This overview gives a good glimpse into what kinds of visual impairment to be aware of as web designers, as well as techniques that can help.
10 Second Tip: Making the web more accessible for everyone isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing: it’s been estimated that about 10% of online customers will have significant visual impairment of some kind, and it’s something most of us will experience to some degree as we get older (perhaps especially as we look longer and longer into our screens). 4% of the population struggle with low vision, and another 4.5% of the population are diagnosed with color blindness. For those site visitors, your text may be too small to read, and that nifty color-coded statistics graph may be unreadable too.
Test Drive: These are all important things to keep in mind, and in our opinion, the education shouldn’t end there. There are also plenty of best practices web designers can implement to better cater to the legally blind as well, by making sure websites are properly crawlable and make sense to screen reader programs. If you’re interested in learning more, we like this handy guide by Laura Kalbag and A Book Apart.