Tim Dyer: JavaScript and the UX

Orde Saunders' avatarPublished: by Orde Saunders

Tim Dyer was speaking at Glasgow.js about JavaScript and the UX, these are my notes from his talk.

What is UX

Interaction between user and product, not just web - could be anything.  Takes the user through process to fulfill goals or leave them unsatisfied.  UX is not new for the web, has been around for millennia.  UX for interface design stems from Dan Norman.

On the web we are playing catch up with usability which is perhaps why UX and UI are such current buzzwords.

The UX is everything we do to create our product.

What role does JavaScript play?

Quite a lot!  Born in late 90s for interaction in the browser.  As humans we live in a world that is constantly changing and ainteractions feed our imaginations.  Research shows music producers put in small imperfections to break up the static nature of a beat.  Small interactions with web pages keep the mind moving.

With modern JavaScript frameworks we can combine all the principles of UX together and make elegant sites.

Principles of UX

1. Immersion

This is a state of mind where a participant is in the optimal state of mind to engage with a product.   Infinite scrolling is an example of this - users are not distracted.  Increased focus.  How much time do people spend scrolling up and down the Facebook timeline?

With JavaScript you are not breaking the bond between user and product, the user is in control.  JavaScript can keep a simple site engaging.


Over stimulation is as bad as under stimulation.  Ryan air's booking page is a good example of this - how many people have bought extras because they were distracted by everything going on on the page.  If there isn't enough stimulation then there is nothing to draw users in.

2. Pareto principle

80:20 rule - hide things that users don't need.  Focus the user on what they want to do.  With modern websites it's more like 95:5.  As users discover recessed items using things like hover-overs and drop-downs they become more engaged.

3. Feedback

Feedback is crucial throughout life.  For years we've been bad at this on websites with alert boxes and the like.  We need to use more subtle and elegant ways to give feedback.  Should be focused on getting the user into more immersion by getting them into a two way conversation.  Don't ruin the experience by making the feedback take the user out of the zone.  Encourage people to learn by experience.

User feedback on touch screens is much more immediate, because we are touching the interface we are more engaged.

Good example

  • bekk.no is a great example of building an engaging site using JavaScript 

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