User Experience Design… All the big players online seem to focus heavily on this technical field in order to provide powerful experiences through their websites and web apps. The crafting of a positive user experience at times seems out of reach for those unable to invest countless hours into learning more about it.
Concepts, principals, and parts of User Experience Design can often times be difficult to approach—and this tends to create barriers with new bloggers. This begs the question: Do ordinary bloggers have to worry about UX Design?
Simple Things Make a Big Difference
You don’t need to be an expert UX Designer, Interaction Designer, or even consider yourself a designer at all to make better UX choices. Any entry level blogger, designer, or developer who pays any attention at all to user centric design will probably make wiser choices than the alternative.
This is a point worth reiterating: User Experience Design may be a large and complex field, but making user-concious decisions does not require years of study.
Walk a Mile in The Users Shoes
All it takes to make better choices is a clear head, and paying attention to simple design choices. When building a blog or website, question choices you make—put yourself in the users shoe from time to time and think to yourself how someone with no pre-existing knowledge about a website will approach things.
There are a few basic ideas that will help you understand how a new user will approach a website:
- Users aren’t mind readers. They do not know instinctively where to look for certain content around a website. You must guide them where you want them to go.
- You are not the user. Especially when making creative decisions, think to yourself: Will everyone else understand what I’m trying to communicate here? This is especially true with labels. A User trying to get in touch with you would instantly understand a link that says “Contact”, but may never think to click “More Information”.
- Too many choices can be a bad thing. Think about how you use websites—you almost never read every page on a website so that you know everything about the site. Instead, you make impulsive decisions based on what you’re looking for. If there are too many options/links/or even if there’s too much content to sift through, a user will have trouble finding what they need.
- It doesn’t matter how pretty something is if it’s not useful. New designers tend to build flashy websites that lack substance or are hard to use. Making something pretty isn’t a crime so long as it doesn’t take away from how useful a site is.
Take a Little Time to Learn
It doesn’t take years of practice to start getting better at User Experience Design. Take a little time every week and read up a bit on UX, and you’ll be surprised at what you can learn in such a short amount of time. There are some very, useful, blogs out there that are great for both entry level and experienced designers and bloggers.
If you want to make a strong first step into UX Design, there is even a wonderful book called “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug which is an essential read. It’s very short, and very helpful. I’d highly recommend giving it a read.
You’re ultimately responsible for how someone uses your site. The best you can do is at least try and accomodate the users needs and wants—no one ever got any better at something by not trying!
David (Super Awesome) Leggett is a professional full time blogger who enjoys helping and teaching others interested in getting started online.