In this digital age, creative and design professionals enjoy the freedom to create and share everything on the Internet. They expect Internet to be a medium where they can share their thoughts and ideas with ease.
But notions like "consistency" and "definite patterns" will not restrict freedom. Rather they will provide foundation for creative distinctions.
Originality help you create designs with an emotional punch but it's all useless if you don't understand what the user is expecting from your design.
In this article we will discuss about what user expect from your design and how to meet up to those expectations. How user testing can be used to reveal some insights about their usability and how you can give them that feeling of satisfaction.
Why it gets important to think about consistency and user expectations before creating mock ups because it's important to reduce the bias.
By the time you will realise the mistakes in your interface which you have thought of, it will get real difficult for you to rectify those mistakes - if you manage to notice them. By that time you will already have a visual pattern, so it will get harder for you to give it a fresh and new perspective.
Formulating what perception your user might have for that product will always be an easy task with a design which already exists, that a design which is still being formulated. You can for sure track and study the behavioural interactions, but that is always fruitful before a mock up than after it.
It is always recommended to study user perceptions when you are working on a design with your team. By this you'll get closer to the mind of the user as the design is fresh to both of you.
Both external and internal consistency will have an effect of this process, even if the new designs are following standard conventions. But you also need to keep up with the internal consistency as well.
While intuition plays an important role in the whole design process, your designs should be based on solid and valid evidence.
It will help you gain an understanding about user perceptions and expectations. Ensure you follow it on regular basis. Run these tests before, after and during the design process to minimise the errors.
1. User interviews
Interviews with users can be cost effective as well as elaborate. Design market being a saturated space makes it obvious for you to interview as many designers as possible to gain more relevant and solid insights.
By this you get to know their processes, workflows, what inspires them and what they expect from the design tools.
Once the interviews are done, take those insights into consideration to develop a concept and finally turn that concept into a product. You will specifically learn from the interviews what you should include in your interface and product features.
While taking the interviews just make sure you are not asking designers some specific set of questions. Users really enjoy how current design works and they are keen on making additions to that existing product. By this it gets better for you to focus on writing.
There are a lot of strategies to consider before conducting interviews. But if you are interested, take a look at these links below:
Evaluations are a great tool for ensuring consistency since you are focusing on competitor's designs as well. While it is primary being done to test usability, they can also outline the current market state. Clear your goals regarding visual style, atmosphere and target users.
3. Measure the insights
The most simple and clear way to evaluate something is to compare it. Plotting them on a graph will give you a better understanding and you will be able to make more calculated decisions.
4. Comparing the results
Looking at the points side by side will give you a solid understanding of market space and what user perceive. Remember it will highlight your inconsistency. However, it depends upon whether you want to runaway from them or fall in line.
Let's take a more generic look. Let's assume your competitor is offering a simple way to get a task done, here lies the opportunity - but if you break the jinx and offer multiple ways to complete a task, you might earn a chance to attract more users. One way to win over customers is not to satisfy the user expectations but to exceed them.
Design process is something you start at the ground level and build over time. Consistency will always be tested to get best of the user expectations, which is very important for long run.
Pay the closest attention to what users are exactly expecting out from you. Test often and balance the originality with the scope of design.
Cheers! Happy Blogging (: