Whether it’s a simple contact form, or your very own social media website to topple Facebook, any amount of effort you invest in getting the user interface right is not enough. The UI is what governs how users interact and experience your websites, web apps, etc., and there’s hardly any scope for errors up there. So, tighten the screws of your project’s UI with these 5 fundamentals of good user interface designing.
A UI is only as successful as a user will let it be
When a user connects to your website, it’s the moment of truth for the UI you would have put together. Matching the glitziest and classiest of competitors in terms of the design of the website is no guarantee of cusses. Ultimately, you’ve got to know clearly as to what the user’s goals of using the website are. Then, you need to ensure that everything about the UI of your website takes the user closer to his/her goals. Will your target user be looking for the ‘download’ button of the free templates you offer? Ensure that you mark out a clear path, and make that Download button catch attention right away.
Don’t reinvent the wheel, trust what’s time tested
Interfaces are the foundation layer of the user experience delivered at your website. When you get down to the wire framing and UI design, it can save several hours and dozens of rework exercises if you study what’s successful. The ordinary web user is in the habit of using Gmail, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. So, for whatever web project you are developing, study the key UI attributes of the best in the business. Then, make the identified attributes as the key building blocks of your web project’s UI, adding differentiation with content elements that the user does not ‘interact’ with.
Be prescriptive, without making it obvious
The greatest UIs are those that naturally leads the user to the desired action, without blatantly shouting out what the user is expected to do. Under every Facebook post you see, there’s the comment box, with your profile favicon and white text space prominently visible. It’s natural for a user to think how he ‘might as well write that little comment’. That’s an example of intuitive UI design. No words mincing though – it’s not easy to master the art. Read a lot about design research studies that analyze how users react to various combinations of colors, text sizes, icon placement, sub headings, etc., study blogs and websites with heavy traffic, and get your mix together.
Hand hold your users through the user experience
Revisiting tip#1 and building upon it is important; for all sub components of your UI, build some buffer for user mistakes. Creating a Contact Us smart form? Ensure invalid entries are pointed out dynamically, and reloads don’t empty all previously entered field (except critical details like password). Building a checkout design? Ensure that the shopping cart refreshes to reflect the updated product selection, even if user is browsing the store on multiple devices, using multiple sessions, and multiple tabs in the same browser.
Wash off unnecessary elements
The web design world is moving away from chaos, and your users also want to experience neat, intuitive, uncluttered, and well organized user interfaces. So, once you have the prototype ready, enlist all primary elements of the UI, and asses every one of them on the single parameter – ‘Does the user need it at all?’ You have your answers – wash off everything that’s not adding to the user experience. Flashy, resource intensive, and packed interfaces are harder to accept and adopt to for users.
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