Set the Curve
The irony of great user interface and user experience design (UI/UX design) is that the experience often feels so seamless, you can't imagine it working any other way. In reality, intuitive interfaces are carefully designed illusions that use cues to trigger the brain's database of previous experience patterns. These patterns then kick in and give the user that feeling of “just knowing” what to do. That comfort level is in turn what makes the user feel the product is easy to use or intuitive. For example, the reason tabbed interfaces became popular in software is that people instantly recognized the form of a physical tab in a filing system and understood that clicking the tab would access the contents of that topic.
Of course, great UI/UX design isn't just about using recognizable components from the physical world. In fact, taken too far, analogies can get clunky and cumbersome. Remember websites from the 90s with an image of a door and a link to “enter here?” In fact, even straightforward cues can become bulky if overused. If you've ever seen a 20-field form with a “what's this?” link after every field, you've witnessed the problem with overuse. The art is recognizing where familiar cues are helpful, and where to streamline or push boundaries.
We blend user-centered and activity-centered design to achieve the most optimal outcome for the project. That means that we generally favor tailoring the process to accommodate the behavior of the user, while understanding that sometimes the goal of a project is to drive behavioral change. In these instances we still want to use what we know about the user to make the new behavior feel as comfortable as possible.
The result of this philosophy is a detailed design process. We use various strategies depending upon the project.
No one knows the quirks of a process better than those who live it daily. Interviewing users in their environment helps us understand deeper and find the true opportunities for improvement.
Design can be agile too. A wireframe enables clients to get an idea for a flow without waiting for all of the details to be figured out.
Wireframes are great, but they can't communicate the personality of an application. We take it a step further with full mockups of most screens so you can truly envision the product before it's built.
Sometimes you just have to be able to feel the workflow to know if it's going to work. Prototypes pick up where mockups leave off and allow you to experience a feature firsthand.
We're proud of our quality process that turns out remarkably clean code, but there's no substitute for the feedback of the real users. We walk our clients through user acceptance testing at the end of every sprint.