At the start of the semester, I didn’t think I would become as invested in how Websites look as I am now.
In this semester’s UX class, we dove head first into the design, layout, and nitty gritty of what is excellent, bad, and weird about different websites.
During this course, we focused on different principles to help understand what contributes to a good and bad website. A few of those I found most interesting to focus on include;
- Schemes & structures
- Labeling systems
- Navigation systems
- Search systems
Throughout the course, we analyzed what makes a good website and how the user’s experience is the base of it all. We used the above principles to help us identify whether the website’s colors, accessibility, images,& search functions, create an easy-to-use website for users. These concepts also help us understand the potential popularity of the site. One example is Zara, a well-known European clothing brand with unprecedented popularity worldwide. However, despite the success of the brick and mortar, Zara’s website is known as one of the worst user experiences online. The website is difficult to navigate, offers little accessibility for those with vision or hearing disabilities, and scrolling is nearly impossible. Before completing this course, if I were to visit the website, I may think it was a bizarre layout with some quirks. Now, I can see all the issues and question why such a large and successful retailer does not put more effort into creating a more functional website.
On the flip side, despite learning concepts about design, it all falls to user interaction. If the user likes the layout, but the designers think it’s horrid, the company will generally keep the site since customers react positively. An example of this that we touched on in class is Urban Outfitters. Urban is another well-known clothing company that mainly markets itself to teenagers and young adults interested in boho and hipster fashion. The website has many different themes simultaneously instead of sticking to a single color scheme and overall message. Despite the website having no consistency and seemingly not following design guidelines, some customers, including me, seem to love it. In class, our professor and many students agreed that the website looks clustered, unplanned, and has no theme, but to myself and other classmates, we feel it fits the “hipster” and “not like other people” theme. So, again it is up to interpretation.
Overall, I would recommend this course to everyone. Even if you do not have a passion for design or websites, you learn a lot and have newfound respect or confusion about website designers.
- Would you like to take a course like this?
- Have you ever noticed the small details of a website? If so, what have you seen? If not, what do you think you may notice after reading this article.