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Tips on How to Think Like Your User - Candace Mitchell

Okay developers....put your user hats on! Here are tips on how to think like the user of your application.

When designing the UI, always remember that “you are not your user.” Think with the user’s mental model. Thinking back to a lecture in class, we remember the phrase, “the experience IS the product.” Referencing back to concepts by Don Norman in the book Design of Everyday Things, other concepts that we knew were important for the user are visibility of system status, match between system and real world, user control and freedom, aesthetic and minimalist design, error prevention, recognition rather than recall, and flexibility and efficiency of use. These concepts ensure that we are indeed designing for the user, and not ourselves.

Here are some points that I read that provided great insight and will help when it's time to finalize M7 and roll into M8 with the UI evaluations. It will also be very help for the M9 Design Twist -

Get Some Fresh Eyes: Have someone who hasn’t seen the design or been told what certain things/areas are look at the design and guess what each area is, then adjust the areas where they guessed wrong to encourage the correct answer.

Stop Re-Inventing the Wheel: Use standard conventions when you can to help users use your product intuitively without thinking about what that function is.

Make Key Areas Stand Out: Every product has an area/purpose that it is trying to bring innovation to, so make that area/purpose obvious. If users cannot figure out what your product is used for, then they will not use your product.

Use Logic when Designing: This is my biggest tip; make sure your product or site follows a logical pathway. The users are following the road laid out, so make it as straight-forward and sensible as possible.

The Sum of it All

It's easy to design an awesome site, but it’s more rewarding if you take the time and plan your designs with your user in mind. The real substance is what your visitors and users will take away from your site, so give it the time and attention it deserves to take it from a pleasant experience to an extraordinary one.

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