Thursday, April 29, 2010

User Experience (UX) in Web Portals

Planning and executing information management projects accounts for a major portion of the overall effort. However, there is still quite a bit of time that is required to be spent on refining and communicating concepts to colleagues and to the business. Perceptions about why you are developing a portal or system and what it will look like have a tremendous amount of impact to the success of a project.

User Experience tends to be one of the facets of information system design that draws quite a bit of controversy because it is very subjective. Combining information architecture concepts, system capabilities, features, security models, business requirements, functional requirements, standards, and policies to develop a design will get you most of the way there. However, there are still some very volatile aspects to the design process; these include emotion and perception.

The measure of user experience of a system is highly subjective. People's attitudes, situations, level of knowledge, and other factors produce an emotional response every time the person uses the system. Although I have lots of past experiences, projects, and communications to draw from for guidance on how best address matters related to UX debates; I've decided that I really need to collect some factual information to keep in the toolbox. I think that behavior studies, polls, statistics, and other sources of research are required to build a solid fact base to support decision making. It is simply not good enough to speculate how people think and how people will respond to a particular system design.

I plan to invest some time in this topic and then reflect on my findings in subsequent posts.

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