Skipping all that you don’t say part I feel like this morning is the morning to explain some basic things I’ve repeated plenty of times for years.
There are two reasons to do it. First I am tired to explain the same thing, and having a post I can send it, thus promoting my blog. Second is I have a couple of live examples of Usability being not the same to Awesome User Experience. Third reason (of those two) is that I am in a mood to write something beautiful today.
Where did that usability come from
Ages ago (back in 1998) I was a young web designer doing local projects. I had to explain every client why it was unacceptable to write vivid green letters on a vivid red background, why the links had to be underlined and why all other things that make site easy to use were a must. The clients, though, had their own ideas on how everything should have looked and functioned, usually contradicting common sense and technology level.
Well, at least that never changes ;)
So to explain in one word what the perfect site should be I didn’t use fancy but usable. That’s why I preferred to do mass media sites or complex portals, rather than something like wedding dresses shop site.
Well, I was wrong
Not in that part where I don’t want to do a site about wedding dresses. But in the part where I claim sites have to be usable. To be precise, I wasn’t right back that days, but I would be wrong now, deciding to create site that is just usable. It’s standard set of rules nowadays.
Usability → User Experience
It happened about 2005 or 2006, when web soaked into our veins and occupied a portion of the brain. I will not be surprised if future studies find out that there is a part of the brain responsible for everything related to internet stuff. People got totally used to websites, and with iPhone in hand one could visit any site or service one wants.
To get more people and customers everyone started working on unique or good UX. User’s experience of using your product should be somehow distinctive. That’s it, no secrets. That doesn’t mean unusable or may be does. Up to you.
Those who use Facebook, please raise your hands. You, two, are you shy to raise a hand, or what? All those who think Facebook is hard to work with or use, please keep your hands raised. Good to see those two raised their hands as well.
Yes, Facebook is unusable. Yes, it provides tons of irrelevant information, let alone ads. Yes, Facebook changes the options and controls very often, forcing users to search for them in all the menus and submenus. That is done on purpose.
I’ve read a blogpost of some Facebook employee and then, when in Bay Area, met a guy who worked on Facebook UI (well, part of some part of it) and he told me absolutely the same. Facebook has a good usable design. It is so beautiful your eyes will start bleeding rainbows. It is so usable, you won’t see that irrelevant posts that make you mad, and have all the information on the tips of your fingers. There is a Facebook that can make you happy.
And studies show it would dramatically decrease your time on the website.
Why would you be there and like posts you’d never like to see if you got the information needed with no clicks or scrolling? Who would read and click all those ads, if the photo from your yesterday party wearing turkey on your head is right in front of your eyes? Who would chat in browser if the site is opened and closed for a minutes, not tens of minutes? At the end of the day, how are you supposed to procrastinate if you get only relevant and up to date content? Go read Medium for that!
So we’re sentenced to blame Zukerberg for unusable interface, while he is more interested in providing us catchy user experience, that ties us to Facebook, forcing to scroll miles of feeds.
Now the second story. It’s actually about the latest version of my website: genn.org. I’ve updated my portfolio. I also reorganised it. Instead of putting several parts of the project to different categories, I grouped everything by projects. As since 1998 I made a lot of interesting things I prefer to post selected, favourited design solutions.
Like naming, identity, design and website design for ill&mates. That’s a big and long project. In past that could be objects to put in logo, website, graphical design, business cards categories.
Or like calendar for UNICEF. It’s just calendar and this is one project. Just graphical or print design category. That’s it.
Or like naming, identity, promo materials and packaging for Honey Bunny. Objects to put in logo, branding, identity, packaging, maskot, naming. But all of them are in one project.
If I’d want to show just logos or infographics, I’d made sections and list of works. But I want every attendee of my portfolio to be absorbed by the things I made. Like in modern art gallery, please, take your time, enjoy the colours, thoughts, combinations and communication. There is a link between you and the thing you are looking for. Value that moment.
That’s the Awesome User Experience I designed and it works. For those impatient there is Behance. Quite usable, nah?
I was going to finish here but remembered the story proving I was right about that Awesome UX.
One of the headhunters called me to ask: “Excuse me, I wonder if you have like another portfolio?” I didn’t understand what she wanted and why she didn’t like mine. It’s not that bad, really.
“The one with something less creative.” — asked the lady.
I sent her link to my Behance saying my portfolio is me, while on Behance I just popularise what I do. If someone gets interested in me I’d prefer him or her to be interested in my way of thinking etc.
Long story short, later she called me to say none of her clients wanted to see Behance while some of them loved the portfolio on genn.org. Because of the Awesome UX, I assume.