This chapter contained so much good information that it would be impossible to summarize it all without writing an entire’s chapter worth of information, so I am choosing to focus my summary on UX, because it’s not something I’ve explored very much, but it is incredibly fascinating to me.
Some of the thinking behind UX is very similar to print design, while many components are much more exclusive to experiential thinking. Like in many print projects, the role of a UX designer is to intentionally guide the viewer through the information – whatever it may be. One of the most substantial ways to do this (in print and interactive media) is by establishing hierarchy – especially through grouping similar content, scaling content based on importance, and avoiding too much unnecessary information. In web design especially, maintaining a large amount of white space can be an incredibly effective way of reinforcing the strength of the visual hierarchy.
Because the purpose of UX design is to guide the viewer through content, it’s important to clearly define goals and these pathways in the early stages of a project. Several ways to create these pathways include developing a call to action and finding ways to minimize the clicks necessary to get information. In this stage, the UX designer will also make sure to maintain a “polite” interface – one that reacts the way that the user expects it to. This means that things like underlined text will indeed be a hyperlink, instead of just being used as a design element. Should something react in a way that the user isn’t naturally expecting, it’s considered polite to warn them (pop-up windows, opening a PDF, etc.). Furthermore, design shouldn’t be intrusive. Users need to have the control for audio and visual components of a project, instead of having them autoplay. Mindfulness to things like this will ultimately lead to a more seamless and pleasant user experience.
Though the visual design of an interactive experience is important, even the most beautiful website will be problematic if the user experience isn’t carefully thought out. Websites are primarily information-driven, so it may feel like there’s less freedom on the design side of things to allow for a successful UX design. However, a skilled designer should be able to marry the experience and the visual content in a beautiful and functional way.