Architecture design can start at the back-end or the front-end.  In either case, you will end up architecting the user experience at some point.  The architecture will come out of the user interface and the controls you use.  It will be joined with the way you architect the visual portions of the application.  The result is more than look-and-feel and goes beyond designing some visual styles.

Setting The Tone

There is a tone or voice an application has that is beyond just the look-and-feel.  It probably falls into the “feel” portion of that facet.  However, I think this an area we rarely consider.  We tend to focus on color schemes and icons without spending enough time on content.  The words we use, the grammar applied (or not), and how we address the user all fall into a tone for the user experience.

When we architect the user experience, there are going to be results that include a focus on fewer (or more) clicks, navigational approaches (top, middle, side), and other thematic UI decisions.  The architecture will often include a decision on libraries, supported platforms, and other core UI components.

Directing the Flow

User experience architecting includes working with also and altering user habits.  For example, we are taught in the West that users tend to visually move left to right and top to bottom on a page.  While we do not want to fight against that habit, we can work with it to improve the user experience.  These changes can include colors, fonts, and common areas for specific functions.

Architecting the user experience includes setting up these commonalities.  We will do things like creating a standard template for forms that has a save button at the bottom, or maybe we always save data when the user exits a screen.  We will display the error and warning messages in a consistent location with standard colors.  These choices and more will be a part of this portion of our architectural journey.

Provide Building Blocks

An architect does not need to implement a solution.  However, they can mock-up and layout a series of wireframes, scaffolding, or other guides.  These help the implementation team follow the plan.  A good architecture will make it easy for the implementors to follow the plan and maybe help them be more productive in doing so.  If you want to learn more you can check out this article: Incorporating User Experience Into Your Solution From The Start or go to a great UX source: https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/10/what-is-user-experience-design-overview-tools-and-resources/

https://rb-sns.com

Rob Broadhead

Rob is a founder of, and frequent contributor to, Develpreneur. This includes the Building Better Developers podcast. He is also a longtime student of technology as a developer, designer, and manager of software solutions. Rob is a founder and principle of RB Consulting and has managed to author a book about his family experiences. In his free time, he stays busy raising five children (although a few have grown into adults). When he has a chance to breathe, he is on the ice playing hockey to relax.

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