10th June 2015
There seems to be a bit of disgruntlement in the camp. Websites are apparently boring and lack imagination due to excessive use of ‘UX’.
What is UX?
Well according to Wikipedia…
User Experience (UX) involves a person’s behaviors, attitudes, and emotions about using a particular product, system or service.
UX means different things to different people. To me, I see UX as a set of methods and tasks to ensure a website works for the audience in the most appropriate way. You might have your own interpretation which is great. You might not work in the web where UX involves say a car or something else.
Now, are websites boring and lacking imagination and is UX to blame? To some, yes it is. It’s said, we are striving to make something the right way based on stats and facts that our final work lacks soul just blending in with the hundreds of other similar things.
To a point, I agree. A lot of websites look the same. Flat design, large header images, often with a bootstrap feel. I’d argue that trends are to blame for that. They come and go and people tend to follow them so obviously, things will start to look samey.
Add to the mix responsive web design. Back in the day, you had one website that did everything. You could make it look how you wanted without having to consider a mobile phone or tablet. You could have the most amazing site layout and you would have people falling at your feet in worship.
Nowadays, you have to consider page load or will it work on the latest Android phone? It certainly adds more things to think about for sure. I’ll come back to this in a bit
Is UX really making sites boring?
First, I think you need to look at what websites are for, how people use them and why. More often than not, websites hold information, usually in text format. People come to it to read, digest and go away. Some websites allow people to browse items and buy. A person will come to this site to look at what is on offer, decide to make a purchase or not, buy it and go away.
It’s probably not high on the list if a site looks amazing. Granted, if it looks a bag of shit, they’ll probably look elsewhere but we’re not in need of making it look like a Picasso painting here. The site needs to entice the person in but it also needs to make their experience a good one. Good UX ensures a person has a happy experience on a website and it could be a big thing or a little thing that mattered.
So I think we can all agree, good UX is important and it is important to consider good UX principles when building and designing.
However, and this is the point of the whole writeup. Using sound UX principles should not make a site boring, dull and imaginative. If a site ends up looking like that. Then I am afraid you can lay the blame firmly at people’s feet whether it is the dev, designer, client, project manager or whoever.
There is no need for a site to lack imagination whether it’s a showcase site, shop or article based site. There is also no need for a site to lack if it is responsive. With responsive, new challenges present themselves. Granted, you might not be able to do exactly what you want but 9 times out of 10, you probably can do so I don’t see this as an excuse. Again, I go back to the task in hand. First off, make sure going responsive is the right way to go, if it is, consider what you need, and most importantly, try ideas to see if it does work. Don’t be afraid to trial stuff.
So in summary as I’ve ranted enough. UX’ing, responsive, frameworks or whatever are not an excuse for making a site boring and souless, that I’m afraid is people doing that. Not all websites need to look the same, not all websites do the same thing. Look at the right solutions, design with your audience in mind and go fucking crazy.