Key Concepts of User Experience(UX) & Interaction Design(IxD)


UX

The user experience designer tends to take a broad view of the user's experience. This will include branding, messaging and other factors that shape the user's overall experience with the company. Things do spill over into IdX territory when looking at specifics of things like functionality.


IxD

The interaction designer tends to concentrate on more granular detail. Form and shape for the goal of creating the best experience to achieve the task at hand for a defined user or "Persona". Persona development is key to establishing the behaviour patterns and triggers for that demographic/psychographic.


UI

The user interface designer considers the point at which humans and machine interact. Things like forms, menus, haptics/touchscreen where the user may use to input or navigate.


Tools Of The Trade

Text / Words / Language

Images / Graphics

Device / Touchscreen / Mouse

Animations / Time Based Events / Audio

Interaction / Inputs / Forms

Usability

Learnability

Anticipate / Mitigate Errors


tl;dr

"Too long, didn't read."

You can imagine the fun of trying to create an engaging experience when the "marketing dept" is hammering a site with volumes of text and a multitude of objectives. The designer's role is to look at the proposed content, evaluate the objectives and their respective technical requirements and translate effective designs to the coders and specialists that respect the overall parameters of any build while achieving specific usability, efficiency and performance benchmarks.


Affordances

In the design realm, we tend to look at affordances as perceptible, false or hidden.

When affordances are perceptible, this means that the relationship or link is obvious to the user. When an affordance is false, the equation is made that there is no value of action when engaged. The expectation is there but no functionality is present(placebo).

An affordance that is hidden if the direct link can't be made but yet, still holds functionality. Example might be using a lighter to open a bottle of your favourite beverage.


Poka-Yoke

Poka-Toke (pronounced PO-ka yo-KAY) is a design concept of engineer Shiego Shingo whereby the re-design of a process of making Toyota vehicles where form, function and design made a part fit ONLY the correct way. This eliminated many errors.

We try to keep this principle in mind when designing functionality & flow through a website.


Usability Heuristics

Given the proper feedback mechanisms, users can learn pathways through sites based on trial & error, feedback loops and hints to guide them.

Look to give clear and concise direction to the user through visual or audible feedback.

Reduce complex decision-making.

Provide graceful failure (ex: custom 404 page. This can create additional opportunity to engage the user).


Successful Wesites Have Common Denominators

Looking for the common denominators within existing, successful sites often help identify current trends through vetted user research methodolgy. Understanding the competitive space a business operates within is a key guiding factor to creating success online.