I have always had a particular vision how User Interfaces should work for me. At the age of 23 my philosophy came to practice when I studied Communication and Multimedia Design at the Hague University of applied sciences. I really enjoyed courses like Interaction Design (IxD), User Experience Design, Marketing, Psychology and Human Computer Interaction (HCI). The information originated therefrom was an eye opener for me and therefore I finally understood why certain logical courses of action had to be taken to create usable User Interfaces. It was no surprise that during my education I excelled in those courses. I clearly understood what was going on in other people’s head and learned the way they think and interact with computers. The way people – that have different cultures, age, sex or practices – think and use computers are called heuristics and are placed into mental models. I then realized that perhaps my way of thinking was not so odd as it appeared to be. Or does it?
I esnure that difficult or complex data be brought together and then be simplified into a usable interface that everybody enjoys using and understands. I am comfortable with designing interfaces that have pleasant and enjoyable usability features and are accessible for all kinds of user groups. The question I usually ask to clients that are new with UX is how or in what way people, that for example have impaired vision, use their products or services. The answers I often get are: “We don’t have those users”, “these kind of users don’t use our products” or “that kind of users are not in particular our target group’. Well, they are half right about this statement. Perhaps those users don’t use their products, but in my experience clients usually don’t have an analyses of who their users are, what they think and in what numbers. So how do you know they don’t use your products or services and why shouldn’t they?
The reason I ask this question is to validate the knowledge of the users using their products or services. But it’s not the main reason I want to validate this. In a UX Perspective it really doesn’t matter if people have impaired vision. My philosophy stands for combing the utter most requirements and therefore creating usable User Interfaces that could also be accessible for people with disabilities. Most clients are afraid that after the discussion that what I design has no sex appeal what so ever and does not measure the site objectives, stakeholders, or measures the expectations of the client. There are always design methods available to also make User Interfaces accessible for other groups. Examples are using regular sized fonts – 14 pixels – instead of small sized fonts like 10 or 12 pixels, not using light grey font colors on gray backgrounds and make use bigger buttons. These design implications have no effect on the content, content and global design of any application. Better yet, if a large group of users can actually read your content instead of getting the reading glasses it’s a big plus. For me, great UX Design isn’t just about a great layout, implementing the right colors and typography. It’s about connecting to your users and building a relationship through meaningful design.