A mistake commonly made by website designers is to consider browsing to be merely a form of transportation; simply taking users from one location to another. As a result, a user’s commute between webpages has often only been assigned an instrumental value. That is to say, it is not seen as having value in itself. Instead, it is only considered valuable because it assists in achieving something valuable; getting users to where they wanted to go. A user’s browsing then has traditionally been seen as a journey akin to a commute, a type of activity which reduces the amount of time users are able to spend at their desired destination.
The aim of UX-focused design is to create websites which transform these commutes to into pleasurable experiences. In other words, UX aims to transform the humdrum commute to work into a leisurely Sunday afternoon drive.
To do this, good UX designs the architecture of websites and the layout of pages to suit not only the needs of its users but also their understanding of how pieces of content organically fit together in the minds of users. The often rigid divisions between one web page and another or one piece of content from the other is dissolved in good UX design. Content and the pages in which that content is hosted becomes seamless. There are no boundaries, everything is integrated.
Good UX design is not a matter of opposing traditional website design. It should not ignore the learned habits and behaviours they have developed in users. However, it should not be beholden to what has gone before. Good UX design should constantly look to improve what already exists. It should map itself closer to user needs and, thereby, provide the user with a more satisfying and authentic browsing experience.
Author: Adrian Paylor
© 2018 Emerald Publishing Limited