Designing The Path of Least Resistance
Getting a user from Point A to Point B may not always be a straight line, but it should still follow the path of least resistance. Deciding where content, features and functions reside and how a user will get to them within an interface is critical to good design.
Before we even think about the visuals and graphics, we focus on ways to maximize usability through meticulous Information Design. Some key exercises we perform can include:
Card Sorting: This is a very simple exercise that helps us gain valuable insight into exactly how users logically group or categorize content. The commonalities that begin to reveal themselves between each test subject help us determine the best way to design a website or app’s navigation structure.
Site Architecture Maps: Visualizing the overall navigation structure in an easy-to-follow diagram is an extremely helpful way to get all project team members on the same page with what needs to be built and in what order.
Task Flow Diagrams: Taking the time to properly design the step-by-step process that a user will need to follow to accomplish a critical task can mean the difference between increasing or decreasing bounce rates, sales conversions and signups.
Visual Hierarchy: Documenting all necessary screen elements for key screens and assigning a visual weight to each element based on its relative importance.
Wireframing: Creating quick, easy-to-edit black and white line drawings that capture all necessary screen elements; demonstrate a navigation system and overall layout; and begin to suggest a proper visual hierarchy.