To understand the conflict between designers and usability analyst we need to know…
Why Usability is so important?
Usability, just common term used in today’s age of “ User Revolution ?”. I suppose we have already covered the stage where user used the philosophy to use the internet just to mark its presence on the new digital world.
As User Revolution stage came in the dynamic pages for interaction between sellers and buyers, companies, .com, e-commerce web sites and such came into being in a billion versions. However, this phase also resulted in complicated and very expensive websites. Just a good looking design was not enough to get enough visitors on your site. Which created a rift between the designers and User-ability Analysts, as they both are driven by different set of philosophy.
As now we are in the stage where user or client requirement is on the priority. If we want our Web site to be visited and used often, and to create profit for our businesses, whatever the form these profits or benefits may adopt, we should create a setting which would take into account the user’s experience. If we do not do this in this way, the one who is in control, who is without a doubt in this case: ‘the user’, will forget all about our web site in the time it takes to make a simple click.
Lets see an example during a project at ColorCuboid, we came across forms where multiple data entry text fields where used to get as much as information from the visitor, where it was a business requirement. However, the set up turned out to be time consuming for the user who in turn avoided filling the form. Therefore, we understood despite the advances in human-computer interaction, forms remain the predominant form of interaction for users on the Web. We started with grouping the related information, second important aspect we worked on was case, as sentence case is slightly easier and thus faster to follow grammatically than title case. Then use of smart defaults to make the user’s completion of the form faster and more accurate. Moreover, most important “Do not ask questions beyond the scope of the form or sudden changes in behavior or appearance makes users edgy”, which solved most of our issues.
So designer needs to understand just by adding nice buttons, color and typography and plenty of jQuery plugins will only solve 1/3 of the form usability factor.
I feel the looks of the website is complimented more if it’s made usable and accessible. Imagine if u like a dress which has beautiful design on it, but doesn’t fit you well. Will u buy it? The answer will be no. Same with one of the other project where the UI design was latest with all latest colors to suit the brand. Initially few categories where listed to us, which fitted well in the design frame. However, later as and when the detail list was prepared, it was getting difficult to get all the categories without disturbing the layout. So we grouped the related categories and exact labeling was done. And for further accessibility anchor links was given, glosses to help the user to select the correct link and even had sitemap for full overview.
Same client wanted a flash animation for landing page, even designers had the chance to showcase great pictures n even include animation to compliment it but FLASH ANIMATION is NOT recommended as USABILITY completely rejects the use of flash, reason, this slows down the loading of the site, the user needs to have at least flash player and one important thing that designers overlook is this animation might impress the viewer the first few times, but after some visit, the same animation loses the impact.
Even the table less CSS is there to help the graphic design , but the conflict between the designer and usability is not just the technical
After all this and many more experience, we all have learned the rules which we need to follow while designing the app or website. So the broad goal of usability can be:
A. Present the information to the user in a clear and concise way.
B. To give the correct choices to the users, in a very obvious way.
C. To remove any ambiguity regarding the consequences of an action e.g. clicking on delete/remove/purchase.
D. Put the most important thing in the right place on a web page or a web application.
To sum it up I would agree with, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” — Leonardo da Vinci .