Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Limitations and Guidelines

I've been working on a project where one of the personal goals I have set for myself is to try and maintain a consistent user experience. I'm well aware that "user experience" is often used quite loosely and if I were to ask a dozen people, I'd receive a dozen different answers. Regardless, I do think it's necessary to bring to light some of the things that have been surfacing in my head lately about online software development.

I'll first start by saying that I feel it's always necessary to maintain standards. Just as much as the iPhone has a consistent "swiping" animation, these visual aids --whether they're animation, behavioural or even just an underline on a text link-- need consistency. A user should be able to predict what happens when a cursor hovers over a button or when it is clicked. Intuitive design requires a level of predictability.

Even though the creative team has been rather reluctant with setting "limitations" to creativity, I've been trying to set guidelines. These guidelines are rudimentary at best, but they include standards for CSS, animation and behaviours on a per-project basis. Perhaps this may prove to hinder our designers, but I can't comprehend how ten different button rollover animations will help the end-user other than confuse them.

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