Today we have a guest post from Rachael, one of our amazing design team.
As a designer who thrives on website design, I stumbled across (on the internet, obviously) a book called: ‘Don’t make me think.’ Ironically enough, it got me thinking…
We are more partial to a slightly longer ‘look’ at our phones or tablets than some of us like to admit. The constant scrolling on Facebook (other social media platforms are available) that keeps us guessing as to where, and what, our ‘friends’ and ‘followers’ are up too. The wonderful, vibrant lives we all seem to lead, through Instagram, with various filters over what was probably a bland image.
I am aware I am starting to sound pessimistic (I’m not; I love Instagram!) However, I have engaged in several conversations, with numerous people of various ages, about how addictive these platforms become; the time spent whilst zombie-fied staring at a small screen. It has become a way of life; downtime whilst sitting on a train, or a method of procrastination.
Personally, I found myself with these exact thoughts, and the feeling of irritation once I had wasted an hour when I had other things I needed to do, or could have done. Although, is that what we need? With busy lives, and limited time, downtime and relaxation are pretty vital. We need to not think. To switch off (by switching on).
The curiosity of how others lead their lives is a constant pulling factor of most users. However, is it because it is made so easy we find ourselves using it as a time-filler whenever we want/need one…
Undeniably, the design of these platforms contributes to the phenomenon they have become. Through the interest of content, many of us, even designers, do not recognise the brilliance of the design. Is it designed to make us think, or make us do? Granted, we spend a lot of time on these platforms, and could probably use them in our sleep, but fundamentally the usability is simple.
Think back 15 years… computers and the web were surfacing and parents would say “I don’t know how to use that thing.” Which, they didn’t. But now, the usability-evolution has seen Grannies Facetiming and Mums checking where and what their teenagers are up too (providing their friend request was confirmed.)
As a designer, I am biased, yes. I have become more increasingly aware of good and bad websites, and what problem-solving-design could be done to make the usability, interaction and architecture desirable. This is what makes a good web space. Steve Kruger, the author of ‘Don’t make me think,’ refers to website design to a game of golf; “a handful of ways to get the ball in the hole, a million ways not to.”
I am excited about what the web and design has to offer for the future. As a designer who’s part of NBGU, we are all working on contributing and shaping desirable web presence. I hope (designer or not) that this post has made you think about what represents good usability design, with an insight into the thought behind what eventually needs to be simple.