Business Analysis Guidebook/User Experience

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Usability vs. User Experience (UX)[edit]

Usability pertains to how easy a product is to use. The user is able to quickly and easily attain their goal. User experience (UX) includes usability, but also a number of other elements that help make the user’s experience more enjoyable. Usability asks, ‘Can the user accomplish their goal effectively?’. UX asks, ‘Did the user have a delightful experience while attaining their goal?’.[1]

Peter Morville’s honeycomb model illustrates what UX should encompass. In order for a product to have value, it should be useful, usable, findable, credible, accessible and desirable.

Why is UX important?[edit]

Why is UX important to New York State government? If we want people to like using our products, feel we are competent and credible, and have a desire to return to our products, then UX is important.[2].User experience mainly involves an individual's emotion, perception and behaviour while using the interface of a specific system or product.It also important aspects of ownership of product and human computer interaction which are meaningful,affective and practical in nature.Moreover,it also takes into consideration ease of use and efficiency which are the aspects of system.These are considered from end user's perception.Since user experience depends on individual thoughts and perception with regards to the system,it makes it subjective in nature.Due to repetative changes over a period of time as a result of ever changing system usage conditions and modifications to the actual system itself, user experience is dynamic in nature.
ISO definition of User experience is a person's perceptions and responses that result from the use or anticipated use of a product, system or service.

Business Analysis and UX[edit]

Business analysis is concerned with business goals. User experience(UX) design is concerned with user goals. The two professions overlap a great deal, as illustrated in Rachel Hollowgrass & Allison Bloodworth's BA-UX Continuum Model.

In an ideal situation, a UX designer might receive a rough product prototype from a BA, and then make improvements to it. Visual designers may also be involved to add interest and aesthetics to the prototype. The prototype could then be tested by and feedback attained from real users. However, because many companies/agencies do not have UX experts, the BA often plays the role of both.[3]

Steps for Implementing UX[edit]

Understand Your Audience[edit]

Ask a series of questions to establish whom the web site will be communicating to. Ask questions such as what is the audience age, audience web experience, shared culture, objectives and purpose for coming to site, language/lingo, and what connotations do certain colors have? The answers will establish the tone, personality and attitude of the web site.

Profiles and Scenarios[edit]

Profiles and scenarios help to better understand your audience. A scenario is a situation in which a typical user might use the site. It captures the user’s goals and objectives. Within a scenario are user profiles, which specify the gender, status, age, education, etc. of a potential user. Profiles also include a user’s viewpoints and expectations. It’s important to ask how would each profile expect information to appear and what content organization would make sense t o them. What is the user thinking or expecting to see?

Organize your Content[edit]

Sort information your audience would expect to find into similar categories. Most organization goes from general to specific. For instance, a home goods website might go from Bed & Bath>Bedding>Sheets. This information is helpful even if the user is not familiar with the content. They can defer that sheets are a type of bedding just from the organization of the site.

Crate and Barrel content organization

Information is easily absorbed when it is in small chunks and placed where and when the user needs it. This can be seen often in product overviews online. The user must drill down to see product details, product reviews or product care instructions.

Crate and Barrel product overview

Ask what labels your audience would expect to see? Are they familiar terms? Can they associate the terms with the content under each category? The audience and their goals should determine the method of categorization. Utilize the user profiles and scenarios developed previously. Try walking through your content as a typical user. In addition, you could allow audience members to comment on how content has been organized and ask if it makes sense.

Once the organization of your content is determined, it should be documented. A good way to do this is in the form of a tree diagram. This helps to see the big picture and explain the content structure to others. In general, there should be no more than seven menu items at any given level.[4]

Design your Navigation[edit]

Navigation helps the user know where they are within your content, how they got there and where they can go next. Often navigation reveals your content categories in visual form. Show the highest level menu on all pages and only show deeper levels when the user drills down to them. Showing all levels on all pages will cause clutter. Users will become familiar with a consistent high level menu and know where to click to find something. Consistency is key, it gives your user confidence in your site. Keep the same placement, order, and amount of visual characteristics the same throughout your site. Other navigation options to consider include a link to the homepage, a site logo, a search box and contact information on every page. Keep navigation elements clean, clear and relevant. Don’t have so much navigation on your pages that it overwhelms or distracts the user from the content. Navigation is usually found at the top, left-side or bottom of the page. Use space-saving navigation such as cascading menus, drop-down menus and breadcrumbs. [5]

Create Mockups
Navigational mockups can be created by drawing on a sheet of paper. Indicate where elements will be positioned, which labels will be used and how they might behave. Then get user feedback on your mockup. Show a typical user a few internal pages and ask them if they know where they are, how they got there and where they might go next. [6]

Establish Personality[edit]

Every aspect of a site (i.e. color choices, labels, language, images) contributes to the personality of the site. This is how the site speaks to your audience. Personality is important for standing out on the Internet. It is also important for getting users to return. Are the images, text and other elements used an appropriate tone for the site? What emotions does the site bring to mind? (Excitement? Calm?, etc.). [7]

Provide feedback[edit]

Feedback is important to let your user know what is going on with the site. For instance if processing is going to take some time, it is important to display a progress bar or similar functionality so the user knows something is still going on. Other forms of feedback might include success or error messages, and what the user can do to correct such errors. [8]

Web Conventions[edit]

When browsing the web you will see many similarities from site to site. These are web standards that users expect to see and have been proven to work. Such standards include placing the branding, logo or site identification in the top left-hand corner and have it link to the homepage.

Using underlined text for links only. External links should be indicated and load into a new browser tab. Downloadable links such as PDFs, should also be indicated by type and size. Use descriptive wording for links, but don’t let link wording get too long. This makes them difficult to read.

Contact information should appear in the page footer, with copyright, and security information. If the web content contains time-specific information, a last updated date should appear either at the top or footer of the page.

Page titles are usually left justified at the top of the page immediately before text content. Page titles should match any links that bring the user to the page. For instance, if the user clicks ‘Account Summary’, the page title of where the link goes should be called ‘Account Summary’. The page HTML title should also match the page title but include any parent page titles. For instance the HTML title might include ‘Citibank :: Account Summary’.

Above the Fold
Put the most important information ‘above the fold’, meaning above where the page is cut off by the bottom of the web browser. [9]


^ 1. User Interface Engineering - The Difference Between Usability and User Experience, retrieved 01/29/2014 from
^ 2. Semantics Studio - User Experience Design, retrieved 01/29/2014 from
^ 3. Web Designer Studio - UI vs UX: what’s the difference?, retrieved 01/29/2014 from
^ 4. Business Analysis Times - Gaudi and Steve Jobs Way of User Interface Design, retrieved 01/29/2014 from
^ 5. Wroblewski, L. (2002). Site-Seeing: A Visual Approach to Web Usability. New York, NY: Hungry Minds, Inc.
^ 6. Techved Consulting - UX:an essential element of software development, retrieved 06/10/2014 from