Ohio University

User Experience on the Web

User experience design on the web focuses on optimizing websites to create the best possible experience for a potential user. Changes big and small can have an impact on the overall user experience of a site.

Factors of User Experience

Many factors are at play with the user experience of any site. In our collaborations with OIT and UCM, we can influence certain factors more than others in our day-to-day content updates.

Seven factors of user experience

  • Usability:  Are users able to efficiently and effectively use the site to achieve goals?
  • Usefulness: Does the site serve a purpose for users?
  • Accessibility: Can all users fully access and understand the site and its contents?
  • Desirability: Is the site aesthetically and emotionally pleasing?
  • Credibility: Can users trust that the site is accurate, up-to-date, and official?
  • Findability: Can users find the site and its contents?
  • Value: Does the site provide overall value to users?

Usability

Tips
  • Create content with a billboard approach, keeping in mind that users are navigating the web quickly and not absorbing full content in the linear, sequential order in which you have laid it out
  • Make sure users can understand where they are on the site at all times by carefully crafting page titles and headings
  • Use headings to differentiate between different topic and increase the scan-ability of the page
  • Use shorter paragraphs than is standard in print
  • Use bullet points when possible
  • Reduce options or labels that seem to overlap and that could cause confusion

Usefulness

Tips
  • Reduce word counts by as much as 75 percent of the initial draft
  • Relentlessly eliminate fluff content
  • Think critically and realistically about your users’ needs

Accessibility

We’ve dedicated an entire page to accessibility best practices.

Desirability

Tips
  • Use button/link styles to emphasize available actions and add visual contrast to text heavy pages
  • Apply consistent formatting on throughout a page whenever there is an opportunity to create a familiar pattern
  • Use photos to break up content and supplement understanding and emotion
  • Choose photos that evoke the tone that you are shooting for

Credibility

Tips
  • Make sure content shifts with semester changes in a timely manner
  • Either remove event content or update event pages to promote the next occurrence as soon as an event has passed
  • Keep a running list of time sensitive content that needs to be updated regularly
  • Adhere to official university brand standards
  • Preview your work before you publish
  • Edit and spell check content
  • Ask someone to proof your work
  • Avoid errors, no matter how small

Findability

Tips
  • Make sure that you are using the keywords that someone might search the internet for as you write content, particularly in your high-level headings
  • Analyze the structure of your content to make sure it makes sense
  • Use headings to differentiate between different topic and increase the scan-ability of the page

Value

Tips
  • Think critically and realistically about your users’ needs
  • Even if you can add more content to a page, ask yourself if you should
  • Consider ways that you can add value to the user through your content choices

Focusing on the Audience

User experience design requires content contributors to put themselves in the perspective of the user. The SACM team will be conducting research will real users and analytics for each division site to help measure and inform the user experience that we’re creating for our student audiences.  Your teams can recreate that mindset on a smaller scale in our partnership to improve the site one step at a time.

Tips
  • Ask yourself what your users truly want to know, rather than what you would like for them to know
  • Think about your content from the perspective of multiple user identities
  • Talk to students to gauge their perspectives, without placing too much emphasis on any small sample of opinions