I’m very excited to be taking a part-time class this month on User Interface Design for the Web through UBC Continuing Studies. The first class was last night, and unlike my HTML5 course in May – which spent way too much time on very beginner stuff, like here’s what a link is – I’m already learning new things. Heuristic evaluations for usability! Wireframing methodologies! User-centered design!
User-centered design in particular poses some interesting questions and challenges, but I fear my struggle will be overcoming my cynical distrust of the average ‘user’. One example: the instructor pointed to the ubiquitous ‘confirm email’ field as an unnecessary step that violates the principles of good interface design. And yet I have worked with several websites where a ridiculous number of people have filled out their email addresses incorrectly, as we discovered once we tried to send them important information.
Fun fact: according to our courseware, Mountain Equipment Co-op increased their online revenue by $4 million per year after usability testing on their eCommerce process.
I still can’t explain the difference between a UI and UX designer, but I’m looking forward to learning more over the coming month. I’ll also be checking out the Interlink Conference tomorrow to gain more insight in this new-to-me world.