Web User Experience

User experience (UX) describes the experience of a user during interaction with a website, product, or service. Its study and design concern understanding users, for example, in terms of what they need, what they value, and their ability, including their limitations, all in combination with the content being delivered and the context within which user-interaction with the content occurs. Good user experience is known to:

  • Improve how users perceive a brand.
  • Increase conversion of visits to sales.
  • Reduce customer dissatisfaction.
  • Improve search engine ranking.
  • Reduce costs of development and support, because it ensures a website is developed the correct way from start and reduces the amount of problems users have that require support.

FIGURE 24.1 Adapted Morville’s user experience honeycomb.

User experience is largely subjective, since it revolves around users’ individual perceptions and responses to the features of a website, which can be different between users for the same website. However, it is still possible to design websites in ways that evoke similar feelings in most users, and this is the focus in the field of user experience. In order for a website to produce a meaningful and valuable user experience, the expectations of the user must be met at least the most basic level, without any fanfare or problems. Peter Morville visualizes the main factors that contribute to the achievement of this goal with a honeycomb, an adapted form of which is shown in Figure 24.1, followed by the general guidelines for addressing the factors in Web design.

  • Usefulness: This represents how valuable users perceive the features, functions, and information provided to them. All information necessary for users to perform the tasks supported by a system should be provided, without unnecessary extras.
  • Usability: The qualities that define the usability of a system are mainly learn- ability (ease of learning), memorability (ease of remembering how to use it), effectiveness (how effectively it can perform a task), efficiency (how quickly it can be used to perform a task), errors (number of errors, severity, and recoverability), utility (provision of useful functions), and satisfaction (how pleasant it is to use). To achieve these qualities, a website should be easy to use. Interaction techniques should be familiar and standard so that they match users’ expectations. There should be no unnecessary actions or difficult processes that tax the memory, such as calculations or need to recall a lot of information. Errors should also be avoided. This is why proper testing (discussed in Chapter 26) is important. If errors occur, it should be easy to recover from them. Shortcuts should also be provided for frequently performed tasks, as should be feedbacks to communicate what is going on, to users to make them feel in control.
  • Desirability: Design should be visually pleasing, easy to understand, minimal, and to the point. This includes using design elements, such as image, branding, or identity, in a way that evokes favorable emotion, or simply neutral emotion.
  • Findability: It should be easy to navigate and locate content on-site or off-site. This means navigation should be intuitive and easy to understand. It should also be easy for users to find solutions to problems.
  • Accessibility: Website should be accessible to users with disability so that they have similar experience as others. How this is done with respect to how the features of a website are implemented have been noted in various HTML and CSS chapters as appropriate. Credibility: Website should be such that users trust you enough to believe what you tell them. Because of the nature of a website to be used by total strangers who need to be convinced also by total strangers, being able to design a website in a way that effectively conveys credibility is especially important. Guidelines on this are presented in the next section.
  • Valuability: Everything done should be toward making user experience a valuable one.

Source: Sklar David (2016), HTML: A Gentle Introduction to the Web’s Most Popular Language, O’Reilly Media; 1st edition.

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