Elements of User Experience

Posted on November 20, 2005 | Tagged as: | 0 comments

A good website is build upon more than just nice, clean code and good looking graphics. A site that really works fullfills the strategic objectives of the company while meeting the needs of the users. Even the best technology and the latest content can’t fix a broken concept and an inconsitant user experience design.

With his one page diagram about the elements of user experience, J.J. Garrett has created a conceptual model of the considerations involved in designing successful user experiences for websites.

Garrett defines five plans that have to be considered while developing user experience. Working with those planes step by step ensure, that nothing on the website happens without conscious, explicit intend.

From bottom to top, the planes are:

  1. Strategy: defines the cooporate and the user goals
  2. Scope: decleration of features and corresponding functions
  3. Structure: conceptual structure for the site
  4. Skeleton: placement of the elements on the site
  5. Surface: graphical layout and design

Each plane depends on the plane below it. On each plane, the issues concerning the user experience become more concrete. On the lowest plane only the strategy comes into account, the design is not important. While on the highest plane this cocrete detail of implementation is important. Plane by plane the decisions become more specific and involve finer levels of detail.

One of the foundations of the diagramm is the basic duality of the web as hypertxt media and as an interface for highly complex applications. When defining the features and functions for example, the hypertext media needs content requirements while a software interface needs functional specifications.
This duality must be in mind when working on each plane.

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