We All Need a Little Sunshine

30 Apr

A little sunshine can really increase motivation and positive feelings. There is a reason for seasonal depression, as the winters can be long and dreary; discouraging us from going outside and enjoying the elements.

Now what if we applied this concept or idea to the digital user experience? Is it just by creating a warm and bright color palette? Adding helpful hints? Encouraging the user? Designing a warm and sunny atmosphere for the user could enhance their user experience, even if what they are doing isn’t very fun. For example, I just filled out my FAFSA, and while the site is very easy to navigate and simple to fill out, it might be useful if they added a few helpful hints or encouraging words along the way. Maybe a fun little character to let me know how far I am in my progress, instead of a boring bar showing what step I am at. Sometimes these tedious, daunting tasks are emphasized by the overall design and feel of their UI.

Also, humans are attracted to familiarity. So with Facebook changing their UI every or week or so, users may become confused and even visit the site less often (I’m not saying this actually happens because people are addicted to Facebook, but I’m just making an observation). Keeping a website consistent in the basic forms of usability can be important, because when a user visits the site, they don’t feel lost or get frustrated when they can’t find what they’re looking for.

Bringing sunshine to user experience means simplicity, options, airiness, intuitiveness, and some type of familiar element. Making it so that the interface is invisible. Let’s take Google for example. I recently set up Google Docs as a repository for a client, and although there are a few things I would adjust, it is clean and simple. They even give options of how much negative space there is in between the list of items. You can color code your folders and organize them in several different ways. They keep navigation items in three main spots on the page, so the user always knows where to look for it.

Web sites are becoming more complex, yet the designers goal should be to simplify the experience for the user, so that they can navigate and use a complex site intuitively. These are just the beginning of some thoughts on how to make the experience “sunny” for the user.

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