Reflective Journal Lecture On Website Design Usability Computer Science Essay

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In this journal I will discuss the contents in lecture nine. Lecture nine discussed the issues related to website design which affect user's usability and also affect the success of any website. Colors, navigation and prototyping are considered highly important in web or interface design. in this journal I will discuss the contents based on my understanding .

Choosing the perfect color is a critical decision in every website design and for the designer as well. Some designer may design a web site for an existing business that already has an established color scheme, but many design projects will require development of a color scheme and that will make it even harder.

For a long time, there has been a problem that facing designers with choosing the perfect colors. This problem seems not important to most people, but in fact it is quite possibly consider the most important factor in a web site or interface design .

Researchers agree that colors greatly influence the human psychology. The color scheme that any designer might use on their web site can attract the visitor to engage in the goal of your site or leave it within seconds. Even if the users are not concerned of it, they will be completely influenced in their decision to keep surfing the web site or to leave it because of the poor choice of colors. (Sclar, 2009)

To fully understand the way in which these colors communicate, it is best to imagine these colors organized in a circle. This organization is known in the design community as the color wheel. It is amazing how it will help designers to pick colors to use in their Web site design. The easiest method to choosing colors using the color wheel is to basically imagine an equilateral triangle hanging above the wheel.(choose color for your website,2008)

Color is important to web site design for several reasons. Designers want to make sure that the colors they choose are meaningful. Additionally, designers want to make sure their web site is easy to read and navigate. Both of these depend deeply on the color of the background and text. If designers have a lot of bright colors it can be more complex for users to read the information available in the website.

Sclar (2009) addressed some tips and guidelines fro website designers in terms of choosing the best colors for their websites. The guidelines summarized as the followings:

Avoid using too little colors which means using enough colors because users or visitors might get bored from the website.

Leave white spaces because White areas quickly stand out to the scanning eye as likely content areas.

Keep strong colors for attracting the eye .Too many strong colors will attract the eye in too many directions, and the technique loses its potential effectiveness.

Designers must keep in mind that responses to colors differ according to factors such as gender, age or cultural background. Thus, they need to conduct some serious market research in order to make their site appealing for the exact category they are targeting.

Navigation

Even if designers can have all kinds of great attractions on their site, but if their visitors and users do not know how to get to them, they will simply will get lost and leave the website. If visitors find the web site's navigation confusing or difficult, they will simply give up to discover the rest of the Website. Thus, good navigation design is an essential factor for any successful Web site.

Implementing a successful navigational system on any website is not a complex move to do. However, if designers have done few mistakes regarding to navigation their website usability will be cruelly compromised. Compromised usability will lead to higher bounce rates which means that visitors quickly exiting the website without visiting any additional pages besides the page that they arrived on which is basically the homepage. In addition it will lead to fewer sales for trading websites, and generally unhappy and confused visitors. Avoiding navigational confusion is an enormously important part of website usability. Without navigation, it would be complex for visitors to explore a website or interact with an interface(Scalar.2009). There are many aspects involved in creating successful, usable navigational on websites. These aspects include:

Universal Navigation: which means that navigation must appears on every web page.

Placement Consistency that means that navigation appears in the same location on web pages.

The Importance of Text means that using text for navigation is good, and using images for navigation is bad.

Feedback on Location: such as breadcrumbs, hyperlink styles, colors, etc.

Flash Navigation: a sensitive subject

Site maps: means hyperlink hierarchical outline of website on one page.(Morris.n.d)

Prototyping

A prototype is a form of the web design to test early in the development. It usually includes a model of a draft home page and of numerous pages or different types of pages under the home page.

At the earliest stages of design designers can produce or help their team to produce a visual guide that are the outline structure of the design. These can either be turned into a prototype as they are, or can be given to a graphic designer to create more practical and realistic prototypes that look much like the finished product.

Prototype is essential to gather enough information design, navigation, and page design to implement usability testing. They allow designer to see how well the site structure that they are developing meets users' needs and users' ways of working before they spend too much time, cost, and effort in constructing the site. It can cost about 300 times more to make a change after launch than to make the same adjust in the early stages of designing.(Scalar.2009)

There are three types of prototyping to reflect on, and each has its benefits and uses:

Low-fidelity prototyping

Consider as the simplest, easiest and cheapest type of prototyping. This is where basic elements of the design are printed out and used in paper form for testing and evaluation. It has simple blocks and text instead of images and controls

Medium-fidelity prototyping

Medium-fidelity prototypes are usually software-based, which used computer screen instead of printed-paper as the pervious type but still use basic design blocks rather than realistic images.

High-fidelity prototyping

Considered as the most complex type of prototype and are usually made to look as real as possible. Realistic design and controls are used or simulated, to make the user believes that they are dealing with a real working interface. However this is on the surface only, and behind the surface there is little or no code to support the prototype.

Observations

Reading about colors, navigation and prototyping are interesting for me, as a student like to design websites. I can say that t is not an easy to choose an appropriate colors for your website. During my university study, I took a unit called " business website design ", the major assignment was about designing a website for business use. In fact, I have got Pass in that assignment and I was really disappointed about the mark since I spend good efforts on that assignment. The website I made looked beautiful to me but it is not when I showed it to other people. Their comments were about the colors and navigations, because it was not usable for them. The lesson I learned from that is never design a website that I like as a designer but design what people like as users in another word I should study the potential and target users to my website.

Conclusion

To sum up, While the choice of color is one of the most important decisions in terms of web design, it is still important to understand the theory behind why designers should decide to choose one set of colors over another. Website navigation also play a significant role in order to attract more users and the navigation types are vary depends on cost and the aim of the website. Finally, prototyping can avoid designers to make mistakes in the final product by providing a model of what the website should look like and then they will easily can modify any mistake they might found.

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