Up to this point, I thought my secret talent was “design”. In my current role, I’ve developed presentation for executives, videos for major events, flyers for mass distribution, and plenty of infographics – all of which have been incredibly pleasing to the eye… at first glance. That being said, I am a marketer to my core, and always designed such with that frame of mind – to deliver a story and promote a specific topic or cause. The focus was the appearance, in simply being “visually appealing” and almost “trendy” – to distinguish the specific item from other pieces of collateral that may complete. There was a thought process behind, but perhaps not the “why” – “Where will the viewers eye be drawn to first?” or “Will this icon be familiar?” Perhaps some of this was assumed or innate, but much of this may have been missed – that’s where Norman’s Design Principles come in.
As discussed in class, there are six Principles of Interaction Design – Visibility, Feedback, Constraints, Mapping, Consistency, and Affordance. Though these apply specifically to web design and user experience, there is certainly relevant application to all forms of design. For example, let’s take the graphic above (some content has been removed for compliance purposes). This example would likely be put in the hands of a customer at a large healthcare institution to aid in the sales process. That being said, there are some major faults, detailed below:
Visibility – This concept revolves around clarity, simplicity, and important aspects being prominently placed. Though there are a handful of minor critiques in this category, the largest miss is the small image and statistic at the bottom left of the page. This “Proof Point” should be leveraged as a key selling point, but is barely visible or legible, and really loses relevancy. To gain necessary attention, it needs to be placed at the forefront, not bottom of the page.
Feedback – This applies to the viewer not being “left in the dark”, but rather providing a clear call-to-action. This is partially achieved with the title and subtitle text, but it is very easy to get lost in the text to follow, with lack of a sort of “conclusion”.
Constraints – The amount of content and options need to be limited to avoid frustration from becoming overwhelmed. This example does not “connect the dots” – there are several categories of information which could likely be better combined. It would be a stronger message if the various sections were pulled together and perhaps distinguished by color or chunked by the content area and reduced to the more critical information.
Mapping – This refers to the “clear relationship between controls and the effect they have on the world,” as stated by medium.com. Though not an exact application, the icons used somewhat contradict this concept. These icons are used internally to promote our “Value Promises” but arguably, are not clear and do not provide value to customers as there is no relevance to their world.
Consistency – For viewers, it is important to have similar colors, buttons, and features when exploring a webpage to establish some familiarity and provide a holistic experience. In this example, it was well intended, but perhaps too much so. There is so much consistency that perhaps there is no differentiation, and it is difficult to understand the intended message.
Affordance – Not as relevant in this instance, as it more refers to “an attribute of an object that allows people to know how to use it.” (“Don Norman’s Principles of Interaction Design”, medium.com)
Moving forward, it will be beneficial to develop these materials with these considerations, wearing both hats for Marketing and UX, to not only deliver the “What” but also, understand the “Why” behind it.
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