UX – short for User Experience – defines how satisfying the whole experience of using a product is to a user. There are a series of rules that one should keep in mind when they are planning to create an external facing product. First and foremost, and this may seem obvious, but is often overlooked, you should always keep the user in mind when planning or creating a page that a user is going to interact with. It helps to keep in mind the following quote: “A user interface is like a joke, if you have to explain it, it’s not that good.” Take the following photo examples:
Neither of these should require descriptions to accompany their functionalities. The same applies to technology as we will see below.
In terms of the Salesforce world, the UX of Salesforce Classic typically involves pages that are predefined in regards to how they looked, which made the design and style consistent. Salesforce’s new UI (user interface), Lightning, allows for a lot more freedom. And before you run out and start making your page all pretty (the Lightning Design System can help in that department), it is imperative to never lose sight of the actual functionality; at the end of the day, your page needs to be easy to use. Speed and browser compatibility are also important functions in the web world, but not something Salesforce people generally care about.
Donald (Don) Norman, author of The Design of Everyday Things, created 6 goals for usability that are proven to be critical to success in the UX realm:
#1 – Visibility: This refers to the actions on a page being highly visible; the submit button can’t be hidden in other inputs and should be very obvious so the user doesn’t have to search for it.
#2 – Feedback: The product should tell the user if something worked or if it didn’t. When a user clicks on a button, they should be informed if it worked or if it failed. Another nice addition is including a confirmation message to alert the user of what happened.
#3 – Constraints: Good UX should restrict interactions to features that you want users to access. Don’t allow them to do something you don’t want them to do on your page.
#4 – Mapping: Mapping refers to what will happen to information in one place if it is changed in another. If an input produces an output, make their relationship obvious. All changes should be seen in real time if possible.
#5 – Consistency: The interfaces throughout a site should follow their own “rules” and allow the user to become familiar with functionality and design. All forms should be consistent and not different from one another so a user can get to know your site and not have to relearn every time they click on a new page. Consistency is key.
#6 – Affordance: Good UX should provide clues for how to interact with each input on your site. For instance, buttons can look raised so someone knows to click them, or a draggable item (slider) could have a texture or arrows on it to imply that you can click and drag it. For a real world example, a door handle affords your hand holding and turning it.
Hopefully the following principles and ideas shed light on getting started properly with good UX that you can implement for yourself or your company. To learn more about UX functionality or to talk to a Modacto developer on this subject, contact Luke Parrott.