Creating cool designs that provide ‘neat’ eye candy and little substance appear to be the norm for many creative agencies. Flash design is somewhat passé and almost certainly viewed as an obstruction by many users seeking their holy grail; information.
Usability has been a buzzword mostly centered on design elements, their colors, placement, size, shape and repetition. Fortunately, a few designers, strategists and thought leaders on the forward edge of the development curve have come to the realization that usability is as much about (or even more about) experience rather than design.
Expectations need to be met. Interactions need to have a purpose. Steps and pathways need to be meaningful. And most important, the experience needs to be intuitive, sometimes entertaining, relevant, fulfilling, and deliver to the needs of the user.
When looking at the naissance of a web presence, plan using experience as your guide by looking at interactions, goals, relevance, and delivery to, or above, expectation.
Once that plan is in place then consider how the design and usability can support and enhance the ‘experiential process.’
I love reviewing good design and then moving on. Good experience I’ll stick around for.