When I tell people that I'm a User Experience / User Interface Developer, I tend to get a mixture of people who say "you make website, I can't event check my e-mail" and people who aren't exactly sure what it means to be a user experience designer. My goal through this blog is to tackle some of the relevant issues pertaining to web usability, and user experience as well as sharing some client-side and possibly a little bit of server-side code that can help other people who are trying to create user friendly websites. Since that is my ultimate purpose here, I feel like I need to lay some groundwork by explaining what User Experience Design and what User Interface Development actually entail. This is just laying down the tracks for some more in-depth discussion down the road, but we've got to start somewhere, right? Let's jump into it.
What is User Experience
User Experience is all about approaching applications as the user. When a user comes to your website, how do they know what is important and where to find the things that they are looking for? If they are filling out a form, do they know that their first name is required? If they don't fill it out, how can they be notified that they must fill it out before moving on without losing everything in the form? Are things that belong together grouped together in a way that makes sense? These are the kinds of questions that user experience development asks.
The answers are not always as obvious as you might think. Why else do so many people have such a hard time using well-known web applications like Facebook and MySpace? What is shown, what isn't shown, where they are shown, the relationship of one item to another - these decisions can make or break the ease of use for your application.
What is User Interface (UI)?
User interface development ties in closely with user experience development in that the user is the end-goal in both situations, which means that simplicity in design is paramount.
I'm looking forward to delving into both of these subjects in much less general terms in the future, so you can look forward to seeing some actual examples and code. I just felt that this sort of undertaking may merit some preface.
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