It’s becoming more important every day for your designs to connect more with users and include a “human element.” Website and user experience design needs to feel real, from aesthetics to interactions to motion (perceived and real) to emotional connection.
The problem designers most often encounter when thinking about users is not thinking about them as actual people. It sounds a little crazy, right? But we are not talking about designing robots here. As described in Interaction Design Best Practices, humanistic design creates an engaging experience that users can connect with physically and emotionally.
Here are a few ways to do it.
The first step is saying it out loud: “Humans come first.”
Now repeat it until you hear this phrase echo in your head before and during the design and planning phases of every project. And the way to do that is to actually be more human. Be intentional in actions, interactions and design. Most of all, empathize with your users.
One way to ensure that you’re designing for humans is to create a user persona. You can use fictional identities composed from researching your users. This will help eliminate you guessing about your users and will allow to design with their needs in mind.
For example, the persona process we follow at UXPin looks like this:
You need to create things people want. Step back and evaluate every website or app you frequent. Do you feel like you are part of the design? Is it personal? It is intuitive and easy? That’s human.
There are a few elements in the design process that you just can’t change, like device type and screen size. But you can affect how things render and how comfortable your designs are to use in different environments.
For a design to “feel right”, it must be comfortable to use.
The more comfortable users feel, the more likely they’ll continue to interact with your product.
Focus on the one emotion your project should convey. Don’t get wrapped up in trying to create multiple emotional experiences. Do one exceptionally well.
The emotional connection is two-pronged:
There are a variety of ways to create an emotional connection with your users. As outlined in Web UI Design for the Human Eye, color is a good way to stir emotions in people. Contrast, complementary colors and vibrancy all tug at the heartstrings in different ways. Colors evoke different moods in people as well. For example:
But color is but one aspect that goes into nurturing an emotional bond. Copywriting and visuals also play a role. Felt App’s marketing site has light copy with a conversational tone. The photos are all moments that one might experience in life — mementos of the past. The colors are earth tone, mostly browns with a splash of red from the one envelope. All of these elements alone don’t add up to an emotion, but together these all craft the feeling of nostalgia.
Emotional connections are established in a variety of ways. Brand loyalty, for example, stems from emotional connection. The type of emotion is determined by the tone, message and design choices you make. For example, a photo of people crying can cause concern for users – why are the people in the photo upset and how can they be helped?
Understanding a little human psychology goes a long way when it comes to design.
But you don’t have to enroll in college again to use those tools. Spencer Lanoue broke down “ Psychological Triggers That Make UX Design Persuasive” from an academic research standpoint for you.
Here’s what the concepts look like (and how they relate to design):
Bose is a good example. The site takes a few seconds to load, but the smooth loading animations makes the wait feel less tedious. As you hover over each product, the smoothly triggered animations makes the user feel like they’re playfully browsing through a rolodex. The interface also features contrasting bars of colors to capture the user’s attention, drawing them immediately to the products.
Take a look at the animated prototype we built below in UXPin. Notice how the menu loads immediately after tapping, but transitions a bit slower (so that it’s not jarring). Again, we use bright colors here to quickly grab the user’s attention.
While it may feel manipulative, the use of psychological trigger allows you to further your ability to reach out to the human on the other end of the screen.
A wise man once said, “the design is in the details.” Simplicity always strengthens the details.
Websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram thrive on this human factor. People are sharing their lives with other people. The design and interface is simply the vehicle that gets them there. Now think about the designs of each of these websites. All of these platforms started with simple tools for sharing and while they have grown in complexity over the years, the core usability is still easy to learn.
Start with simple visual elements:
Prototyping your design is a good way to see if these visual elements work or not. While doing so, look for where you can trim because as the old adage goes, “less is more.”
Designs with a human touch just feel right. It might be intangible, but it’s undeniably powerful.
Think of interactions between people. Most communication happens using common languages, such as speech or even posture or gestures. It’s usable communication.
It’s the very same thing when it comes to designing a website or app. The most stripped-down purpose is to communicate something with users. Creating a simple, easy-to-understand method for this communication is always the quickest route to success.
If you found this post helpful, check out the free e-book Interaction Design Best Practices for 100+ pages of additional advice. Visual case studies are included from 30+ companies like Apple, Google, Etsy, and Behance.
Read More: http://thenextweb.com/