Garrett: User Experience and Why it Matter & The Five Planes

During the last class, we talked about the importance of a user-friendly website. A site must be easy to use for a consumer to be motivated to come back for another visit. Therefore, the website does not jest have to be usable. It also has to be aesthetically pleasing and presentable.

When I am shopping online, I obviously make sure that the website I am providing my credit card information to is a reliable site. If their site crashes or is unreliable, I don’t want to give them any of my information if they seem unreliable.

The site also has to be appealing enough for me to want to use and consume their products. If a site looks unprofessional, the product I am buying probably is not as good as a product I would buy on a more aesthetically friendly website.

According to Garrett, author of The Elements of User Experience, user experience means everything when you are trying to sell a product to a wide range of consumers. This is especially true on the web. He says that websites are complicated pieces of technology and one thing typically happens when users have a bad experience online. They blame themselves. They feel stupid.

As a web designer, I do not want my user feeling stupid. It turns them away from the products and info I want them to consume. Nobody wants to go to a place where they feel lost or stupid trying to do something. There is always an alternative that doesn’t make them feel that way. Therefore, the web designers are responsible for making the site user friendly. It is not the users’ responsibility to learn how to use a complicated web site. An easy-to-use website is a profitable website. That is the important lesson from this reading.

Garrett also discusses the importance of the five planes.


The five planes:

  1. Surface- The layer or plane the user sees. This plane must be aesthicley pleasing.
  2. Skeleton- the placement of buttons, controls, photos, and text. (Arrangement)
  3. Structure- Arrangement of site navigation
  4. Scope- Organizes how features of the website will fit together.
  5. Strategy- The most broad. What do users and designers want from the site?


A developer must use these five planes to effectively build a user-friendly and efficient website. A developer would build from the bottom to the top. Therefore, they would start by developing a strategy and end up with a surface plane that is satisfactory to the user.


Discussion Questions:

1)   What is the most user friendly website you have used?

2)   Least user friendly site?


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