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Simple question: Does it enhance the experience?

From: User Experience Fundamentals for Web Design

Video: Simple question: Does it enhance the experience?

However cute you might think it is to look at animated GIFs of dancing hamsters all day long, it's unlikely that the hamsters are doing much to make your site useful to your visitors. In comparison, although it initially seems frivolous, a video of an iPhone being shredded in the blender might be totally acceptable. If your site is the one selling the blender, it demonstrates just how strong the motor is. Graphics, videos, and such can be entertaining, and definitely the entertainment value adds to their capacity to go viral. But, the big question is, does the multimedia element you're adding enhance the experience for your visitors? Splash screens might well set a mood, but the typical mood they set is impatience.

Simple question: Does it enhance the experience?

However cute you might think it is to look at animated GIFs of dancing hamsters all day long, it's unlikely that the hamsters are doing much to make your site useful to your visitors. In comparison, although it initially seems frivolous, a video of an iPhone being shredded in the blender might be totally acceptable. If your site is the one selling the blender, it demonstrates just how strong the motor is. Graphics, videos, and such can be entertaining, and definitely the entertainment value adds to their capacity to go viral. But, the big question is, does the multimedia element you're adding enhance the experience for your visitors? Splash screens might well set a mood, but the typical mood they set is impatience.

There aren't many messages that can be put across better on a splash screen than on your site's homepage. They aren't doing anything to enhance the experience for your visitors. Instead, they are just telling people how much the site cares about its own looks rather than about providing useful information. Think about times when you've been on sites, and the media has done anything but enhance the experience. I'm talking about when you navigate to a site, and music starts playing in the background, or a video auto-plays. Not only is this shocking to us, it can also be embarrassing if we are in an office with other people who not automatically think we're goofing off.

It's even worse when the video that plays is an advertisement on the site rather than the content that's even produced by the site itself. Apart from the obvious frustration issues, there are other reasons not to auto-play the content on your site. If the media isn't at the top of the page, then it might be halfway through playing before people get to see it. Instead, have a clear Play button and a clear Mute button. Another issue is when you use media formats that require special plugins, or need the latest and greatest version, when do this, you're immediately limiting the number of people who would be able to use the media. Everyone else sees a really ugly space in the page, and maybe an error message from their browser.

In my experience, users tend to associate these plugin requests with broken sites. In other words, they will think that the problem lies with your site, rather than with their computer. And in some ways, they are right. The problem is that you didn't anticipate the technical environment your users would have available. Sometimes, it's hard to be objective about a piece of multimedia content. You love it, and you want to share it with the world. However, remember that your site visitors may not share your tastes. Think carefully about your visitor's goals on the site, and ask yourself, does this content really enhance their experience?

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User Experience Fundamentals for Web Design

52 video lessons · 28583 viewers

Chris Nodder
Author

 
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  1. 1m 7s
    1. Welcome
      1m 7s
  2. 4m 37s
    1. Building a site for your visitors
      1m 29s
    2. Understanding how people browse the web
      45s
    3. It's all about information
      48s
    4. What causes people to leave sites?
      1m 35s
  3. 3m 50s
    1. Simple design
      1m 9s
    2. Consistent design
      1m 11s
    3. Standard design
      1m 30s
  4. 20m 55s
    1. Elements of navigation
      1m 21s
    2. Content has a structure
      2m 18s
    3. Understanding menus
      3m 19s
    4. Reviewing some menu myths
      2m 4s
    5. Working with site maps
      1m 5s
    6. Adding search to your site
      2m 53s
    7. Understanding links
      3m 43s
    8. Exploring clickable elements
      1m 18s
    9. Understanding Fitts's Law
      2m 54s
  5. 11m 19s
    1. People can begin from any page on your site
      1m 24s
    2. Elements every web page should have
      3m 25s
    3. Creating progressive navigation
      3m 22s
    4. Arranging your content
      3m 8s
  6. 8m 7s
    1. How people read on the web
      2m 31s
    2. Writing for information exchange
      1m 43s
    3. Formatting pages for information exchange
      3m 53s
  7. 7m 21s
    1. Using your homepage as a site summary
      1m 50s
    2. Creating fresh content
      1m 20s
    3. Displaying navigation and search
      1m 25s
    4. The five-second test
      2m 46s
  8. 8m 8s
    1. Showing people what you've got
      3m 50s
    2. Making comparisons easy
      1m 24s
    3. Creating landing pages from ad campaigns
      2m 54s
  9. 11m 22s
    1. The real purpose of detail and product pages
      1m 16s
    2. Writing descriptive text
      2m 4s
    3. Using images to set context
      2m 17s
    4. Showing the price for products
      2m 27s
    5. Have a call to action
      1m 36s
    6. About Us: a special detail page
      1m 42s
  10. 10m 58s
    1. Ask for information in context
      2m 25s
    2. Making forms as painless as possible
      2m 34s
    3. Creating form fields
      3m 37s
    4. Handling errors gracefully
      2m 22s
  11. 9m 9s
    1. Using different types of media
      1m 55s
    2. Simple question: Does it enhance the experience?
      2m 15s
    3. Using graphics for explanation, not decoration
      1m 17s
    4. What is interactive content?
      1m 58s
    5. Laying out your page for media
      1m 44s
  12. 5m 3s
    1. Making money without selling out
      1m 37s
    2. Adding graphical ads
      2m 10s
    3. Creating text ads
      1m 16s
  13. 3m 42s
    1. Simple, consistent, and standard design
      2m 4s
    2. Consider your users and you'll be fine
      1m 38s
  14. 1m 31s
    1. More resources
      1m 31s

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