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Why put usability first


With web design, when we think about flow we usually think about "task flows" and "flow charts" but there's a different type of flow that we have to keep in mind. It's that feeling of total absorption when you're doing stuff you like to do without being disrupted by anxiety or boredom caused by steps that are misdirecting, too long or overly taxing.
Flow, as a mind condition, was first proposed by psychology professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and is described by a distorted sense of time, a lack of self-consciousness, and full engagement in the task at hand. Software engineers might experience it when they're working on their code, gamers do feel it when playing Quake III, Christopher Cross felt it when he started his trip. For design artists, it's exactly the feeling we want to achieve in the people who use our sites.
How can we create sites that inspire that feeling? Well, it begins with a page that solves a challenging problem and is complicated enough to ask for a certain amount of learning by the user. The goal should not certainly be to design a simple site. The goal should be to design a page that feels painless to use no matter how complicated it actually is. However, you may think, hasn't there been a simplicity trend in the design field over the last couple of years? Yes, but there's a learning curve for all the sites that seeks to solve a difficult task. We shouldn't confuse usability with an urge to avoid excessive complexity.
The trick to make the complicated feel friendly is to design with flow in mind. By developing a site that is smooth and intuitive and inspires flow, you make people get up-to-speed in a shorter time, lower the chance that current users get bored your page and switch to another and produce users that promote your site to other people. That results in more users, increased activity, and greater awareness of your page.
The primary point in designing for flow is to set certain goals for your future users. It's important to create both an overarching goal and smaller, incremental goals. Goals help users understand what is their final destination and each step they have to take to get there.



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