We often speak about how user experience (UX) drives the success of a business in a concentrated market and often forget about the user interface (UI) that largely supports that experience. The cohesiveness of the two is what determines the success of a software solution with the consumers.
However, what makes a great user interface? Are there some strict guidelines or trends that should be taken into consideration? The answer to this isn’t as black and white as one would assume. With UI, it is not just the attractive visuals, impressive logo design, or other design placements. So, how can we gauge a great UI?
Well, there are certain principles that can help you maneuver through the design details of your product. But first, let us answer the basic question:
What is a User Interface?
In simple words, a user interface defines the interaction between the user and the product. Now, a great user interface clearly shows the end-user on how to meet their goals and understand the working of the software itself.
It is not just about deciding where to place the buttons, or which color palette to work but more so, it is the choice of right visual tools to achieve the desired tasks.
In order to achieve this, there are certain UI principles that you can follow in order to create the best experience for your users.
UI Design Principles To Stick By:
1) Clear User Navigation
A clear, clean, and well-structured menu is important as it comprises of the most important sections of the software. So if users are unable to locate the navigation bar immediately, then your design is definitely poor.
Moreover, when we speak about navigation, in particular, it doesn’t only translate to the menu bar or section. Navigation is also how a user interacts with your website in order to fulfill a goal. For instance, an eCommerce site may have so many buttons, CTAs, promotional ads, and product display, that when a user would want to find the search bar, they would have to ‘search’ for it.
That is poor navigation. Instead, you should have your search bar placed strategically without crowding the page with too much content. Hence, this way, users can find the search bar and quickly accomplish their goals.
2) Consistent Design
We want to reinforce the concept of familiarity with our visitors. You can do that with consistent design throughout your software product. We are talking about everything; from colors, icons, fonts, buttons, and much more.
It is best to have a certain theme going on that is similar across the pages. Once the visitors/consumers are familiarized with the design, they would feel more in tune the next times they visit. Moreover, no one likes to witness drastic changes within the UI.
3) Standard UI Elements
Another great UI principle to stick by is not innovating standard icons and design details. It is best to stick with the standard that has taken over every application for a long time. For example, the play icon. Whenever you come across a video, the standard play icon is understood by everyone.
Now, if you were to go ahead and be creative introducing something ‘unique’, you are bound to confuse your users. Users are not necessarily looking for something completely out of the box when it comes to the user interface. They are looking for something they are familiar with and can easily understand.
As a UI designer, your biggest achievement would be to have users open your application and immediately know how to navigate.
4) Accessibility Factor Redefined
In the first point concerning navigation, we discussed how it is important to have everything in-sight and de-cluttered. This is related to the accessibility principle of the user interface as well. A good UI will allow users to quickly find search bars, shortcuts, and hover tooltips.
For example, your application allows users to upload pictures. Then there should be options to crop, resize, and add filters right next to it. They shouldn’t have to perform another step just to get to the editing options.
5) Provide Tips and Assistance
Often times, we have complex software solutions and applications that do have a well-planned and designed user-interface but still require some help for users to understand. It doesn’t mean you failed to provide the ultimate UI, it just means that there are certain areas that can use some hovering tips and onboarding tips.
This way, by placing helping notes here and there, your user interface can be learned and helps users gain knowledge and achieve desired goals when using it. Again, once they are familiar with what each element does, you are in the clear and no longer have to worry about things concerning user retention.
6) Response Against User Action
In the time of gamification and animated content, you need to add a certain response to user-generated action. For example, if you click on the submit button, there should be a response from your application in the form of a change of color, some animation, a progress bar, etc.
This is a great way to assure the user that their performed action is active.
7) Attractive Design
Yes, a good interface at the end should depict your brand story clearly, precisely, and attractively. Hence, one of the surest ways to market your software solution successfully is by telling a compelling story through your UI design.
However, make sure your design decisions are made based on thorough user research and are tested by those target audiences as well. There are great prototyping tools for UI/UX designers that will help them create their vision for testing.
At the end,
Remember, the design is for the users. To create a functional and user-friendly interface that speaks volumes about the quality you provide.
So, what have learned so far about the UI design principles that you can follow for the best results?
- Great user navigation.
- Better accessibility.
- Standard UI elements.
- Consistency in design.
- Familiarity with design.
- Attractive yet functional visuals.
- Tips and assistance.
And much more.
There are great software development companies near me that excel in designing impeccable UX/UI design for their clients and have achieved great results. So, if you are not a designer but someone that is actively searching for a dream team, then connect with KoderLabs and get the ball rolling!
If this interested you, check out: 5 Positive Impacts Of A Great UI/UX Design On Your Business