The 5 elements of UX design explained

The goal of any good product or service is to ensure that the end users have a positive experience. Investing in good UX can generate a huge return on investment for businesses. To achieve this there is a complex chain of decisions that impact the user experience in both big and small ways.

To ensure each decision is made at the appropriate point in the process – the 5 elements of UX design act as a guide for every project. These 5 elements of UX were developed by innovative user experience designer Jesse James Garrett, who wrote a book called The Elements of User of Experience.

The five elements align with the process of creating smart, well-considered user-centric designs and are essential for any project that requires a satisfying, cohesive user experience.

Strategy

The bottom plane of the model is Strategy. As the most abstract and least constrained part of the project, this is where decisions should be made about what objectives the product should be designed to meet. These objectives should include the goals that both the clients and stakeholders behind the product want to meet and the goals of the users, who will eventually look to the product to solve specific problems for them.

Scope

After deciding on the strategy, the scope of the product can be determined and laid out in detail. It’s here that all a product’s features are decided upon, including the information that users can find and the functionality that users can interact with. 

Structure

Once the scope of the product has been outlined, it’s time to start working on the structure. This is where each element of navigation will be decided, including where in the product each page can be found and where users can go after arriving at a given page. This involves defining the interaction design and information architecture of the product.

Skeleton

After deciding how the product will be structured, its skeleton can be designed. This entails deciding where the navigation and functional elements from the previous plane will go on each product page.

Surface

The wireframes and prototypes created on the skeleton plane will be used on the surface plane – the top and most concrete plane – to create the final pages for the product. At this stage, we’re concerned with the users’ sensory experience. This includes how the colours and textures employed in the visual design help them understand how to navigate through and interact with the site, and how the presentation of content draws their eye to key information.

The Exploration of Smart Object Design Method—Applying User Experience Five Elements for Smart Object Design from Theory Research to Design Practice

Why web accessibility is important and good for all

15% of people experience globally some form of disability according to the World Bank. Web accessibility is where web designers and developers use techniques and technologies to make websites easier to use for people with disabilities. By building websites with accessibility baked in we ensure that nobody is excluded.

Reasons to implement accessibility into a website

Its good for attracting new customers

Eight out of ten people with impairments decided not to trust a business because of barriers they experienced. Poor web accessibility was stated as one of the top reasons for this.

As they are often ignored by most websites, users with disabilities are willing to spend more of their money with companies who provide them with a well-thought-out user experience and take advantage of accessibility features built into core web technologies. The purchasing power of this particular market is enormous.

Accessibility improvements won’t turn away your current customers but will attract new customers and improve your conversions. By acknowledging users with impairments, you’re letting them know that their rights matter, and that their business is valued.

Legal Compliance

Thirty-nine countries have laws relating to accessibility.

One of the key pieces of web accessibility legislation in the UK is the Equality Act 2010 (EQA). The EQA replaced the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act across the UK, with the exception of Northern Ireland.

Under the wide-ranging EQA, UK goods and service providers (this includes both public and private sector organizations) have a legal obligation not to discriminate against people based on a number of protected characteristics – including disability. This covers people with visual, motor, hearing, cognitive and learning disabilities.

But the EQA demands more of organizations than non-discrimination. It also requires website owners to actively provide an equal website experience to all their users. The requirements of the law are crystal clear in this respect. The Equality and Human Rights Commission published a statutory code of practice to clarify goods and service providers’ responsibilities under the law. It states that the:

"…duty to make reasonable adjustments requires service providers to take positive steps to ensure that disabled people can access services. This goes beyond simply avoiding discrimination. It requires service providers to anticipate the needs of potential disabled customers for reasonable adjustments."

To comply with the law, UK website owners must therefore make ‘reasonable adjustments’ so that their web content is accessible to people with disabilities – not wait for disabled people to tell them their site in inaccessible. The EQA itself does not outline the technical accessibility standards it requires of websites. So, in practice, the safest bet for organisations is to ensure their web content adheres to WCAG 2.1 Level AA standards.

WCAG represents the world-accepted standards for the accessibility of websites and apps. 

It states that accessible design should be:

How MONO Design makes its websites more accessible

Conclusion

Designing for accessibility will definitely require more effort following established standards and guidelines. However, by making your product accessible, you can help more people benefit from the web, increase your product’s audience, and avoid legal issues concerning inaccessibility.