In May, our Interactive Team Lead Scott became a Certified Usability Analyst and it’s not just a feather in his cap, it’s an internationally recognized certification adding to his wealth of web design knowledge.  

What is a Certified Usability Analyst? Imagine you hired a contractor to build your house.  He’s a great guy and a talented carpenter.  He gets to work building you the house you’ve told him about; big kitchen, walk in closets, five bedrooms and three baths.

The day you get your keys you walk into a really beautiful house but the ceiling is made of glass, every single closet is a walk-in, the kitchen has two stoves and all of the windows are 10 feet from the floor.  It’s got some cool elements but it’s a bit of an awkward set-up for your busy family of four. 

He forgot to take user experience into account.  This is obviously an extreme example (Mike Holmes might have a different opinion), but this happens in web development all the time. 

User experience, or UX as the smart guys call it, is how people feel when they are using a digital product—like visiting a website, online shopping, or using an app.

Not taking UX into consideration can lead to design that just doesn’t fit or even worse, doesn’t work.  Remember the healthcare.gov situation in America?  Yeah, kind of like that.

It starts with developing user, task and environmental profiles.  This process considers the user—how old are they? What will they be using the application for? It then considers the task—do they need a home screen or dashboard to guide them? With they be working in a call centre and needing a system that prompts them? And the third element is an environmental profile. This profile considers things like how many people will need to log in to the system, and even what kind of lighting the room has! The process is a thorough approach rooted in best practice and a lot of research all to ensure the delivery of an amazing application.

Scott has many years of experience designing responsive, elegant and user-friendly websites, but with this new certification, he’s basically the Jedi Master of usability, which can turn your website into a force to be reckoned with. 

Tweet us @TheBurningBird if you want to chat more about UX, or Star Wars, that's cool too. 

 

Posted by Sam Karikas. Sam is the Senior Writer and Social Media Manager at Phoenix Group.