Best Practices: Usability, User-Centered Design, UX

The most successful and effective websites and web applications will be those that cater to the user experience, that truly take an outside in approach, that delivers visual user experiences that transcend language, culture, and generation.  Websites and applications need to be so easy that a child can navigate, even one that cannot quite read or write.

While there are plenty of books on the subject, like “Don’t Make Me Think,” by Steve Krug, I have developed my own 10 principles, best practices, or commandments (if you will) that should be guidelines so we think in a new way to deliver websites and user experiences that are super easy, efficient, convenient, and respect the time and finger of our target audience.

Best Practices in Designing User-Centered User Experiences (UX)

  1. If something is not working right, hide it.  Don’t allow me to see it, use it, or try it.
  2. A link should look like a clickable link.  A button should look like a clickable button.
  3. If it is clickable, it should look clickable.  If it is not clickable, don’t make it look clickable.
  4. Proximity principle: relevant things (tasks) should be clumped together
  5. Set expectations for the user: if you want them to do something in a certain way, explain it in advance
  6. Give feedback to users: if they do the right thing, affirm and reward.  If they don’t, correct and notify.
  7. Pay attention to tab order.  You should be able to navigate the fields and buttons simply by tabbing.
  8. If there is a shorter or more streamlined way to allow somebody to do something, then do it.
  9. Don’t ask for more information, details, or data than you need.
  10. If somebody has to leave a page to do something (sign up, login, etc.) bring them back to that page.