On the Web, users equate their experience with your company. A user's experience is the total impression left by interacting with an application's varied attributes: features, visual design, content, information layout, usability, and robustness. When the requirements and other aspects of the user interface are properly combined, the user experience is defined.

The term "experience" emphasizes the user's active participation through navigation, services, and emotional responses to visual, audio, and information design. The services offered, of course, must exceed those that the user sees. Services must include interaction with other systems and architectural requirements related to security, performance, reliability, etc. Given the nature of the Web, the importance of the user experience cannot be underestimated. After all, your users can find an alternative service or product with just a few mouse clicks.

A Process for Creating User Experiences

So how can you ensure a satisfying user experience? jlvdesign.com recommends that the project team transform the vision or Business Concept into concrete requirements, visual designs, and prototypes by using the activities, artifacts, and roles defined in its User Experience discipline. This discipline's participants analyze users' needs and then define a corresponding digital experience by applying a mix of technical and creative skills. The jlvdesign.com User Experience discipline unites activities in order to:

* Understand the target users, their characteristics, tasks, and environments
* Identify the boundaries of the system and its functional and non-functional requirements
* Define the users' content needs and a fulfillment approach
* Define the priorities for iterative development
* Develop the information architecture
* Develop visual design guidelines
* Develop prototypes
* Plan and conduct usability testing
* Ensure that all project participants agree to the scope and visual design approach

The User Experience workflow diagram contains the high level activities as they would be performed on a new project. The project team performs these iterative activities to varying degrees of completion depending on many factors including:

* Goals for this project
* Decisions made, assets available, and research completed before this project
* Resources (time, money, personnel and their skills) available
* Activities in related projects
* Relationships among stakeholders
* Relationships between stakeholders and the project team

For example, if a team is extending an existing web-based application, they may Conduct Usability Tests on the existing application and use the activities in Develop Creative Approach as a checklist to determine whether the existing visual design is still appropriate. The team would incorporate approved change requests by adding them to current or future iterations.

jlvdesign.com process:

Developing strategies and defining project scope:
Business, marketing, branding strategies
User research report
Use case model
Creative concept or brief

Designing a compelling user experience:
Information architecture
User experience prototype
Usability test results
Software architecture

Designing, building, and validating the remaining functionality:
Remaining software development
Final content, art, and rich media assets
Tested code
Deployment plan

Conducting acceptance tests, rolling out, and following up:
Acceptance test results
Rollout results
Site statistics and performance results