Usability Now, For The Web Of Tomorrow.

As digital continues to inch into our lives, becoming a necessity for day-to-day living, analogue processes and products are fast being usurped by virtual interfaces. Take the Yellow Pages for example; it used to sit on your doorstep, now it sits on your phone. But as the world fumbled its way into the 21st Century many experiences on the web, without clearly defined legal or aesthetic standards, became and remain what can only be described in today’s vernacular as an Epic Fail.

What I mean by this is that they fail when it comes to usability or user experience. They are difficult to navigate and painful to look at. And often they lead to us giving up before we’ve found (or purchased) what it is we were after. Where is that yellow pages when you need it?

Businesses, in particular, have a long history of trying to detail every intricacy of their service offering to every conceivable audience. They usually do this on their homepage and usually, it’s all crammed in ‘above-the-fold’. The result (with the exception of some successful anti-design campaigns such as Lings Cars) has often been confusion, poorly defined propositions, and ultimately stunted conversions.  Indeed, this blanket approach, which attempts to canvass as many potential conversions as possible, extends from the remit of website design into the rather more heinous area of digital mailing lists; currently a hot topic due to the implementation of GDPR policy. And, as we move further into 2018 and a collective digital-first future, strides are fortunately being made to democratise and update the standards of digital output for users across the board.

An example of a successful usability anti-design campaign - Lings Cars
An example of a successful anti-design campaign – Lings Cars

Usability at Six

For our part, as adherents of user-centric experiential design, the digital team at Six has had an exciting few months. We’ve quite literally been at the drawing board, defining and re-defining user journeys, optimising experiences, and bringing projects to fruition for a range of clients.  This preparatory legwork is integral to our digital process, and spending time considering usability objectives, audience types, and which technology permits us to achieve our goals, establishes a solid foundation for the rest of the project lifecycle. This ultimately results in a relevant, usable, and enjoyable digital experience for audiences overall.

As we inch further into 2018, we’re seeing an increasing democratisation of the web, with welcome developments in privacy, accessibility and user security on the horizon. Far from daunting, these changes, in my opinion at least, present a welcome platform from which we can continue collectively learning and offering value through insight and leadership in a constantly shifting digital landscape.

Will Dawson

April 18, 2018

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