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3 UX Considerations You Might Be Forgetting

By on May 2, 2016 in Tutorials
3 UX Considerations You Might Be Forgetting

Another day, another website to design. Just last night, I started work on the first mockup of a brand new entity. This new project fills me with hope, expectations, and a little trepidation. UX is the feeling that the user gets when using my product, and I want to steer that feeling in the right direction.

How It Works

But UX goes beyond feeling. We designers should understand it’s what Steve Jobs once said about great design. “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” Remember that, because it’s the first of the three UX considerations you might overlook.

To the untrained, a designer’s work is a lot of pretty pictures, ornamental shapes, or attention-getting colors. But to the enlightened, what truly matters is that our goods eliminate struggle throughout people’s experience. Deliver something highly useful.

Become the Project

Speaking of Mr. Jobs, creativity, and user experience, do you remember his little animation studio called Pixar? They are unparalleled in their audience’s UX. Their 14 animated films have won 27 Academy Awards and every single one is on the list of highest grossing animations of all time, because their films feel right.

In Ed Catmull’s recent memoir, Creativity, Inc., he candidly noted “Early on, all of our movies suck.”

It is the nature of things—in order to create, you must internalize and almost become the project for a while, and that near-fusing with the project is an essential part of its emergence.

How can you know the quality of an experience apart from owning that experience? Athletes often describe their career as their “life,” because they are joined to their game’s experience. Likewise, designers at Pixar—and you—need to become part of the project to interface with its essence. This leads to great UX because you produce one that you enjoy with all the fiber of your being.

Show Strength Even in Weakness

The third thing to remember is the most important in everyday craftsmanship. If you have any take-away from this, remember that UX is more important that UI, because you can delight them even when you have severe limitations.

Back to Pixar for an example, let’s compare the Toy Story films. All three offer great entertainment, even though the first film wasn’t as polished as the second, and the second wasn’t as polished as the third. If you watch footage of them side-by-side, you’ll note that lighting, texturing, sound engineering, cinematography and the overall visual of Toy Story 3 is best. However, the experience for the audience is much the same between these three lovely films.

At all times the user should find value in the experience of your products, whether you were or were not able to use the best technology and a big budget. Good craftsmanship should always be present. You can do a lot of good with very little when you focus on adding value to the user ahead of making your product more visually stimulating. So, give attention to details, like:

  • Make sure your site is quick to navigate.
  • Be sure the content is highly readable for all eyes.
  • Images should distinctively reflect the themes of the content and product.
  • If you don’t have something worth reading, don’t write/publish anything at all.
  • Aspire to get a thumbs up from any newbie that shops and orders throughout your store.

What's Important to You?

What about you? What do you strive for in UX? What are some considerations you have found most beneficial? And how do you stay mindful of what’s important?

Header graphic created with Lil Pages - 50 UI layouts


Joe Darnell has a special set of graphic design skills. He directs everything from websites to book covers to brand identities. As a lifelong tech fan, Joe spends his spare time screencasting at JoeDarnell.com. When he needs an espresso, he drinks Thrasher Coffee.

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JoeDarnell

Joe Darnell

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Joe is a UI and graphic designer with prior experience as the creative director for three media-based businesses. He has a passion for both web design and graphic design with about 15 years of experience in the media industry. Joe likes delighting people and making ideas and things simpler for them.

1 Comment

  1. jc7

    This expands on your point of becoming the project - I'm trying to lead a focused effort around user empathy. Having a deep understanding of our users, not just at the highest level but the most intimate as well. For instance, when customers interact with my application are they laying around on a Saturday morning casually interacting with it or are they speeding from appointment to appointment and trying to quickly interact with it? What contexts are they using our app from is becoming more of a focus for me and my team.

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