Methodologies

UX Design

As an aspiring UX designer this project intends to show my ability to create a clear user interface whilst meeting the user’s needs for an engaging and stimulating experience. The following definition encompasses the key elements of UX design and touches upon the specific methodology needed to determine a good user experience. Wilbert Galitz (2007, p.4) states, “Human- computer interaction is the study, planning, and design of how people and computers work together so that a person’s needs are satisfied in the most effective way.”

Therefore an essential part of my research was to examine all of the theories and patterns surrounding UCD in order to establish the most appropriate way to present website content. This involved considering what elements of information to focus more heavily on in order to obtain the audience’s attention. Focusing heavily on imagery seemed most appropriate as users valued a more visual, rather than textual interface. A better understanding of users, tasks they wanted to complete and the environments the website would be used was necessary to design the right functionality and look for the website. This was perhaps the downfall of the initial app, which merely provided an information based application of the festival programme. Testing highlighted that user’s valued social interaction above any other component which is why I have taken my project down an interest based network route, primarily focusing on user’s opinions and the ability to repost ‘valuable’ comments.

A better understanding of how users interacted with the website, what they found most enjoyable and what they expected from the interface was established through surveys and prototyping. The survey below was created for a different project purpose but still proved useful to the field of endeavour.

Chart_Q1_140502

For all survey result see Appendix A.

Iterative Design

The chart below demonstrates the processes I went through in order to reach my final design. Through prototyping, building and analysing I was able to refine and tweak the interface. John Cato (2001) states that through this development process designers must assess key high risk areas, ubiquitous and complicated components and similarities between areas of information and user activity. This was particularly evident with regards to the navigation. Designing the navigation horizontally across two lines, cleared the interface, placed more emphasis on film content and highlighted that the top line, “home, view profile, search, logout,” were the most important links.

Another ubiquitous component i hadn’t noticed until building the site were user’s comments. Only after building was I able to recognise that as users posted a comment, all comments remained on the homepage, regardless of how many comments there were on one film. This therefore led to a huge build-up of comments on the same film, overloading the interface with opinions on one film and ruining the main concept of the website. To avoid the interface becoming cluttered, the PHP was adapted to upload the most recent comment on a film to the home feed. In doing this, users were able to see a wider variety of film reviews rather than reviews of the same film over and over again. Additionally only after building the site was i able to recognise that i had not considered designing all the functionality of the website. In particular how to present users comments. After building the site, I was able to recognise that comments didn’t look right when placed underneath each film. I had to therefore analyse the best way to represent user’s opinions that would accommodate the site layout. This involved replacing the description when hovering over each film with user’s comments.

Iterative Design