When it comes to design, it has long been said that simplicity is key. And although I always understood the basis for this saying, I never fully appreciated what it really meant.
As a beginner it is natural to want to show all your ability by wowing your audience. And as a teacher I see my students making this mistake often. They try to build out features as much as possible and try to showcase every aspect of their ability. As many of you know, this approach does not always result in the most aesthetically pleasing design, let alone the most user friendly experience. This is why I have stressed the importance of simplicity to all my students from the first day I started teaching.
For our latest project, I assigned teams of 4 to each create a prototype for a design application.
Naturally, we discussed the limits of what can be done within a browser based tool.
I mentioned a few existing applications, and explained how to they strip away unnecessary features to simplify the user experience.
In order to illustrate my point, I went on a search for large, feature rich applications to showcase for our next discussion.
I wanted sites with a great design, clean lines and an intuitive user experience.
LogoCreator is a browser based application that lets users create logo designs quickly and easily.
The application was built with Canvas and the tool offers a wide range of powerful editing capability.
When trying the tool for myself I found all the features to be extremely intuitive and easy to understand. There are tons of features and thousands of logo design templates all built into a super simple layout.
Vectr is a vector editing tool that is just as powerful as Adobe Illustrator but all accessible from a web browser.
The learning curve is a little bit steeper than a tool like LogoCreator but it is still quite intuitive.
When you consider all the features that are available when editing vector files it is nothing short of spectacular that it can be done without downloading any software.
This was a great example to show my students, if Vectr can simplify their design to this point, anybody can.
This application was also built in Canvas.
After scouring dozens of sites, this was the clear winner for designing business cards and other branding material.
Much like the other two applications, it provides the user with a simple process through preset options and onboard's first timers quickly and easily.
My students were surprised and inspired by what could be done within a browser and how much features can be simplified.
One of my students asked what my advice is for building applications with great UX.
Unfortunately, and necessarily, the answer is different for every application you design.
There are tons of applications with seamless UX, and each one of them is different from the other.
So, I simplified my advice to one thing that holds true for every application, website, and even gadget.
If you want to create a truly remarkable user experience, you need to let the users guide you.
This is a process that takes time, but it will allow you to build great products every time.
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