Once the design team is thoroughly immersed in the user data through the previous phases, storyboards, sketches, and scenarios are used to quickly capture design ideas. Rapid ideation is possible through use of these techniques. This approach helps to eliminate poor designs quickly so that the best solutions can emerge.
At this stage, a preferred overall solution has been agreed upon by the team based on the user research, technical constraints, platform issues, and scheduling requirements. The design can now be refined and fleshed out. At Vinq, this often includes a rapid prototype
of the design which can be used to try out the interaction models and workflow. Principles of user interface design guide this process. Some of the principles we use include:
- Mental Model
The user's existing mental model about their job and workflow derive from a combination of the user's daily experiences on the job along with their use of related software and websites that perform similar functions. The UI must support these real-world models in its structure, presentation, and workflow for it to be a successful tool that aids users in completing their tasks.
- Consistency and Predictability
Every user interface creates its own language of interaction, visual presentation and user experience. These designs should not only be consistent with existing industry standards when appropriate, but should also be internally consistent so that that the user can quickly learn and predict its behavior. At Vinq, with our 20 years of industry experience, standards have become ingrained so we understand how and when to apply them -- sometimes that means we knowingly break standards in order to produce an innovative design solution that results in a superior user experience.
- Flexibility and Forgiveness
The UI should be one that allows the user to explore and navigate freely without becoming lost or thwarted by an irrevocable error. Breadcrumbs, user-friendly error messages, and status icons are some examples of user interface elements that contribute to flexible and forgiving designs.
In addition to applying tried and true design principles, our process includes creating a customized visual treatment that supports the customer's branding and styleguide. We can provide a completely unique look and feel or build off of existing standards. At Vinq, we leverage the visual design as a way to enhance communication through an aesthetic language which is immediately recognizable from the first visit to the homepage down to each element of the user interface. We have the experience and knowledge to create stunning visual designs that work hand in hand with the interactivity of the site and company branding.
Web 2.0 Look and Feel
Web 2.0 standards are used so that the website has a contemporary look and feel that can compete in today's evolving market. At Vinq, we are driven to produce a design that is not only simple, elegant and intuitive, but is also highly interactive, context sensitive, and leverages user contributed content and social features when appropriate.
We strongly recommend that any design go through usability testing before it is released; this will allow for any usability problems to be caught and addressed before the site becomes public. Through usability testing, the design can be refined and honed to ensure that users have a delightful and productive experience on your website.