Usability in Screen Design

In this learning portfolio I will be exploring the important fundamentals of usability within screen design. A Webpage with easy usability is proven to be more aesthetically pleasing to a user. First impressions will usually last, therefore various steps and procedures should be carried out to ensure the usability of your web page is up to standard (“User Centred design,” n.d.).

“User-centered design (UCD) is an approach to design that grounds the process in information about the people who will use the product. UCD processes focus on users through the planning, design and development of a product” (“User Centred design,” n.d.).

User Centred Design (UCD) is a concept that should be explored when attempting to design an aesthetically pleasing web page. UCD focuses primarily on efficiency, effectiveness, satisfaction and limitations with relation to usability. Usability covers aspects such as user control, navigation, consistency, flexibility, currency, aesthetics and help. When designing for the web the language must be clear, this includes short and simple sentences with everyday words. The designer should avoid using more than sixteen words in a sentence, to cater for the user’s patience; the words should be active verbs to coincide with the passive user e.g. “Red Bull gives you wings”. Users will rarely spend more than 3 minutes on a web page; thus the information must be concise, scannable, credible and objective. User friendly information includes the use of bullet points, headings, key words and captions. In terms of page layout “Chunking” is a good idea, in which you can divide the information into three sections. As for the background, blue is a colour that is frequently used as it pushes the text forward. Fonts should be limited to two per page and preferably be Sans Serif; Verdana caters well for web scanning, whilst Italics must be easy to read if they are used. Interactive Links including site maps, search sections and print friendly options, allow for easy usability (Blythe, 2001, January 15).

A website should be planned and have consistency in design throughout the pages. Navigation structures, such as interactive buttons and icons, will increase the usability of a site. Graphics on a page should only be used if they add value to the page e.g. representing the meaning of the linguistic content. This also applies for sound and movie files, which are large in megabytes. It is also important for the designer to know the target user, and cater for any disadvantaged users such as the colour blind, vision impaired and deaf. Taking these factors into account will enhance the usability and in turn the aesthetics of one’s website (“User Centred design,” n.d.).

 

Usability Within Society

 

Coca-Cola

The Coca-Cola logo provides aesthetical pleasure as it carries the colours of christmas. The classical font of its label provides aesthetic consistency and respectability, which in turn provides reliability. Coca-Cola caters well for usability with variations of the beverage ranging from diet coke and coke zero to vanilla and cherry coke. Coca-Cola is easily accessible, particularly within western society where it can be found in all supermarkets. In Australia, Coca-Cola can also be found within many fast food franchises: a company co-operation known as synergy. Coca-Cola usually uses active verbs within its slogan’s, such as “life tastes good” (“User Centred design,” n.d.)

Coca- Cola, n.d.

 

 

Nike

The logo of Nike has a white tick amidst a black background, which draws attention to the symbol and text. The active slogan “Just Do it” is a motivational statement, with connotations that suggest Nike will assist you in fulfilling your athletic ambitions. The black and white colours symbolize truth which allows an element of realism to be added to the statement. Nike caters for usability as it distributes an abundance of materials throughout various cultures across the world; in turn meaning that the product must appease specific cultural values (“User Centred design,” n.d.).

Nike, n.d.

 

Iphone

The Iphone is the modern day epitome of usability. The IPhone possesses the internet as well as other multimedia facets. The IPhone can take photos and send visual voicemail, as well as perform the standard procedures of a phone, such as text messaging. The IPhone also possesses a multi touch screen which includes a virtual keyboard, of which also enables a user to type up a word document. The Iphone also includes applications such as GPS Navigation, Social Networking and Games. With multiple accessories, the Iphone has great usability. It’s transportability is by far the most enabling aspect, in which a university student could be participating in social networking or typing up an essay, whilst they are sitting in a lecture theatre or on the train home. The marketing of the Iphone was almost solely based upon its usability.

Iphone, n.d.

  

References

User Centred design. [n.d.].Retrieved May 6, 2010, from the Usability Professionals Association Website:http://www.usabilityprofessionals.org/usability_resources/about_usability/what_is_ucd.html
 
Blythe, S. (2001, January 15). Writing for the Web: Elements of Effective Screen Design. Message Posted to:http://users.ipfw.edu/blythes/teach/writeforweb/design.htm 
 
Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2003). Aesthetic- Usability Effect. In Universal Principles of Design (pp. 18-19). Massachusetts: Rockport.
 
 
n.d. Iphone. Retrieved 14 May, 2010 from:http://www.mapds.com.au/newsletters/0807/iphone_home.gif
 
 
Righi, C., & James, J. (2007) User Centred Design: Real Life UCD Cases. San Francisco: Morgan Kaufmann.
 
 
Thissen, F. (2002). Screen design manual: communicating effectively through multimedia‎. Germany: Springer-Verlag
 
 
 
 
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