Design, like fashion, is always changing. What is considered fashionable now may be considered catastrophic later. Remember baggy pants? It makes me cringe just reflecting on my high school years.

Every design has a style. Every style has a purpose. These factors are important in considering user satisfaction with browsing through your website via computer, tablets or mobile devices.

Since photographers usually control their own blog designs, it’s important to consider whom we design it for. There are generally four steps every designer undergoes.

Self Design (Look)

At first, we design a website that fits us. We use the colors we like, the fonts we like … It’s all for ourselves. And who cares if everyone else hates it?

Like what Carrie Bradshaw said in “Sex and the City” Season 02 Episode 04, “Fuck them, exclamation point.”

sex and the city

Client-Focused Design (Functionality)

As we grow up and don’t use profane words, we quickly realize, “Oh s–t, maybe that font is too small or swirly to read.” Our next phase is to design our website for our customers.

This is all after a little bit of research on our target audience.

  • Do they even have a computer?
  • Do they use mobile devices?
  • Are they going to like faint colored tiny fonts?
  • Will they know how to contact me if they like me?

Activity-Focused Design (Interaction)

As if the aforementioned aren’t enough, let’s kick it up a notch. Activity-focused design means creating some form of interaction with the user. I actually came upon a cool site that did this while seeking answers on becoming a vegan. Yes, you heard right … no more In-N-Out Burgers.

Peta has a cool website (http://goveg.org) that offers interaction. Check out button two – it’s a game!

go veg

Experience-Focused Design (Feeling)

After accomplishing the look, functionality and interaction, now it’s all about experience … the feeling people get by using the website. This is getting into emotions.

If you continue on http://goveg.org, it’ll tell you the number of animals slaughtered during your stint on their site. This is dealing with emotions of guilt.

Conversely, check out Louis Vuitton’s sites. They used to have one called Louis Vuitton Journeys that talked about travels by Buzz Aldrin, Sean Connery, Angelina Jolie, among others. But their Personalization site is pretty swanky too.

louis vuitton ux

After visiting Louis Vuitton, I always walk away wanting to book a ticket to another country … and to buy something from them. Speaking of buying, Apple does a pretty good job at it too.

All of this is User Experience or UX.

So …

Now that you understand the four steps in a design process, ask yourselves these questions:

  1. What is the purpose of the look of your website?
  2. Does it function with your target audience? For example, do they do what you want them to do?
  3. Is there a way to interact with your users?
  4. How do they feel when perusing your website?

Hope you enjoyed this post on the anatomy of design and user experience. If you learned something, please share with friends via social media buttons below. Thanks!

Your vegetable loving friend,

Lawrence Chan

P.S. Any suggestions on a soy tofurkey brand? I got to plan ahead for Thanksgiving!

P.P.S. Last week, I blogged about hosting a complimentary Tofurious CliffsNotes seminar.

Location: Jay Studio in Temple City, CA
Date: November 2, 2011 (Wednesday)
Time: 10AM-4PM

This is by invite only. Address will be emailed to you. You can express your interest by commenting (1) the number of years you’ve been in photography and (2) what you hope to learn from Social Media Marketing for Digital Photographers or email me at tofulawrence [@] gmail.com. If you’re traveling from out of state / country, please note it so that I could give priority consideration.

P.P.P.S. Check out my raw breakfast. It’s just not the same as cereal …

raw drink