There is so much effort in developing a website. You have to consider its navigability, its layout design, its color scheme — there are just so many components to designing a website that it’s easy to forget about the user interface design (UI design). The interface is the space where the website and its users communicate with each other. The interaction that is brought about is what defines the user experience.
It’s your duty as a web designer, or a UI designer, to make sure that the user comes away with a positive and endearing experience. The web design industry is relatively young, but UI design can be thought of as in its infancy stages. UI design is a growing expertise as brands begin to realize how crucial user experience is. Search online design agencies and design firms and they’re always looking for UI designers.
Daza Design offers web design services, but included in that package are our UI design services. We understand that a well-designed website — for all its elegance — can be meaningless without a meaningful user experience. By presenting an engaging user interface, your website will provide a purposeful user experience which will draw users to your brand.
We present you some vital UI design tips that will hep you craft user interfaces that will present your users with a worthwhile experience!
Learn who your users are.
First and foremost tip: you have to learn who your users are. You simply have to know everything about your target demographic. How else can you design a user interface without understanding who your audience actually is? Understand what their needs are and keep their needs at the heart of your UI design. By empathizing with the needs of your users, you will have a better grasp on how best to achieve their goals through your UI design.
When you get to know your users, you will learn about what in your UI design (or even web design) hinders their journey from achieving their goals. It should also be said that you need to understand your users better than they even understand themselves — anticipate their needs before they realize it and have your UI design help them cross that bridge to a fulfilling user experience.
How will users interact with your interface?
Prior to starting the design of your user interface, you’ll need to ask yourself — ‘How will people use my interface?’. With the added functionality of touch-based gestures on smartphones and tablets, you must consider how exactly is it best for your targeted demographic to interact with your user interface.
Say your intended audience comprises young adults, you would undoubtedly uncover in your research a high percentage of your users are more comfortable with the design of mobile interfaces. Designing a user interface that enables swiping navigation or taps to press a button will provide a more positive user experience. In contrast, if your targeted demographic were senior individuals with dexterity issues, then it would be wise to forego touch-based gestures and go with the traditional point-and-click mouse.
Set expectations and give feedback quickly!
Just like in real life, actions always have its own set of consequences — your user interface should and it should also let your users know what those consequences are. Taking standard design cues with icons such as a heart to favorite a post or a trash bin to delete an item will make for a more navigable UI design.
Again, just like in the real world, there are irreversible decisions that can be made in the user interface. Be sure to alert users when permanent actions are about to be made! Not giving users these precautionary measure may frustrate users and lead to a stressful user experience. Setting expectations are a great way to let users understand how to interact with the user interface and prove a stress-free user experience.
As you set expectations, be sure to reward them with feedback as quickly as possibly. In a time where attention spans are shorter and an insatiable hunger for instant gratification, providing instant feedback in your user interface is a must if you want to provide an endearing user experience. If a page is loading, provide an animation to let users know that it’s simply loading (and not hanging!). There are many ways to provide instant feedback, it depends on your UI design on how to provide that real-time response.
Mistakes are bound to happen.
Just as how actions bring about consequences, mistakes surely happen. People make mistakes all the time in the real world, but your user interface should keep them from suffering from their mistakes. Similar to the first tip, just like how you must anticipate your users’ needs, you also want to prevent mistakes before they happen. We mentioned the alert messages that pop up before your action becomes a permanent one — that’s one way a user interface can prevent a mistake from happening.
Another thing that a UI designer must do is also provide solutions to fix the user’s mistakes when they actually happen. One way this can be seen in UI design is in online forms. If you make the mistake of filling in the wrong details, there is typically an error message that displays and details how to rectify the mistake. Providing these failsafes in your user interface can lessen the anxiety in the user experience. You can anticipate and fix mistakes, but they’re bound to happen and how your interface deals with them can make or break the user experience.
- Keep it simple and make your interfaces easy to understand!
This may seem straightforward and a giveaway tip — sure, but it’s easier said than done. It’s up to UI designers to provide as much functionality as possible yet keeping the user interface clean and simple. By keeping simple, it makes it easier to understand. It sounds relatively easy to do, but as an online design agency, Daza Design can attest that balancing a simple and clean user interface with plenty of features can be tricky.
Pinterest is a good example of a user interface that’s loaded with functionality but presents an interface that is clean and simple (see: card-based design). Remember Hick’s Law: the more options a person has, the more difficulty it is for them to come to a decision. Carrying this mentality in designing your user interface will allow users to make faster and easier decisions — which will translate to a more satisfying user experience.
Daza Design sincerely hopes that these tips will encourage you and other UI designers to create user interfaces that will give people a meaningful user experience. For what are our greatest web designs if our users are ignored?