In almost every instance, web sites, web applications and mobile apps are “self-service” products.
This means that the user must figure out how to find what she is looking for or accomplish her tasks on her own. This is why conformance with norms (interaction, patterns, color schemes, language) is critical.
The experiences that we create should result from a thoughtful process that begins with strategy and ends with appearance. In-between, there’s research, ideation, build and test … then iteration.
I’m turning Garrett’s planes upside down … because this is the order that we should approach the design process:
- The Strategy Plane: The scope of your website is fundamentally determined by the strategy of your site – what the company is trying to gain from the website and what they want the users to leave their site with.
- The Scope Plane: As the structure defines the way in which the various features and functions of the site fit together, the scope defines what the purpose behind those features and functions are.
- The Structure Plane: The structure of your site is a more concrete expression of the skeleton of your site – defining hoe the user got to the page they are on and where else they could go. The skeleton might define the arrangement of the navigation while the structure would define what those categories actually were.
- The Skeleton Plane: Beneath the surface is the skeleton of the site – the layout and placement of where those buttons, images and text are to be for maximum effect and efficiency of your site.
- The Surface Plane: On the surface you see a series of web pages made up of images and text that will tell you where you are, where you can go and what is here.