Everything you need to know about User Interface Design

by Ash Horton
May 5, 2022

User Interface (UI) design explained.

A user interface design can be best described as designing all visual elements of a digital product’s user interface. From the product’s presentation to its overall interactivity with clients, a UI design is responsible for it all. In other words, it focuses on what the user perceives when they interact with the product.

The importance of a great interface

UI design can make or break the success of a business and its product offerings. Today’s consumer isn’t satisfied with adequately designed products. In fact, they expect nothing less than brilliance from tools and software they use. An outstanding user interface design helps attract customers and facilitates interaction between users and the provider. It decreases support-related questions and decreases bounce rate. Recently, analytical tools have started measuring a factor dubbed “rage click”. What this means is that when people are frustrated because something doesn’t work, or seems illogical, they bang on their phones, keyboards or screens rapidly. This all relates to having an interface designed for a pleasurable, interactive customer journey.

With the ever-increasing growth in technology, user interface (UI) design has also grown substantially and has blossomed into one of the most creative, innovative, and exciting fields in tech. But while you may have frequently seen job listings for “UI designer” crop up on job boards, you might be wondering: what actually is a user interface, and what might I find within one?

As of January 2019, there were over 1.94 billion websites in existence. The massive influx of websites substantially led to the growth of UI designers. The User Interface designers are typically responsible for the product’s look and feel. A UI designer is responsible for dealing with it all, from studying and understanding users’ preferences to creating an interface that fulfils their logic. Not only this, but their job is not limited to focusing on aesthetics but also involves maximising the responsiveness and efficiency of a website or app. In summary, a great user interface makes navigating a site a pleasurable walk in the park.

Why User Interface matters in web design?

A good User Interface is crucial to initial stages of web design because it helps bridge the gap between your target audience and your product offering. It draws in the visitors’ attention and displays your services in a manner to keep them intrigued. Over time, a good marketing team will watch customer behaviour via analytics and tweak the interface design accordingly. This, in turn, helps to convert traffic into potential buyers and facilitates interaction between users and your website.

User Interface (UI) is undoubtedly an intricate field. It begins with designers trying to anticipate the preferences of your audience or users and using this research by creating an interface that can best understand and cater to these user preferences. Apart from focusing on the visual aspects, a sound user interface also capitalises on effectiveness and productivity. By doing so successfully, a User Interface design ends up improving the conversion rate of a website.

Nonetheless, with so many benefits and more, User Interface plays a pivotal role in building an engaging website. It provides a point where users can interact with the website and its product offerings and presents itself as a perfect synchronisation of visual, interactive and information design.

User Interface basics

As mentioned before, a good user interface is critical to a good user experience. If the interface doesn’t allow people to use the website quickly, they won’t be able to learn about the product. Thus paying attention to it is crucial for the success of any business.

Not only this, but designing the perfect user interface is all about knowing the users and understanding their tendencies, preferences, skills, and goals. To do so, try incorporating the following user interface basics to satisfy the requirements of your users.

1. Putting users first

One of the fundamental principles that UI design should focus on is people (or the “user”). A website with a good user interface is easy to use. It aims toward user satisfaction and tries to steer clear of any ambiguity that may confuse the users. But to do so, you need to first understand your users and what they want to do. Experts suggest that talking to users is the first step toward a good user interface design. So try and learn more about your target audience. Every little detail from who your users are and what they need helps develop the optimum UI designs for them.

2. Try limiting it to just a few steps

Once you have a clear brief in mind, try to restructure tasks so that they can be done in as minimal steps as possible. Each screen or page should gear towards focusing on one key area. While doing so, try and focus on the immediate actions required from your users. Keep them in front while giving less visual to the secondary actions. 

3. Consistency is key!

Being consistent allows designers to create familiar interfaces that are more usable. Maintaining a consistent design helps users access the desired results without any resistance or friction. This, in turn, makes the design (as well as its functions) transparent, with no detailed set of instructions required. 

While gunning for a User-friendly UI design for websites, one should focus on remaining consistent with common patterns as well. Avoid altering or inventing new patterns since this could only lead to confusion amongst the users. 

4. Minimising the cognitive load

Many UI design principles focus on minimising the cognitive load for users and help make using websites easier. The idea is not to make users think. There are many ways one can achieve this. Some of these include (but are not limited to)

  • Chunk actions and evidence 
  • Focusing as much as possible on the 3-click rule. This means that for users to land on a particular piece of information, they shouldn’t have to click more than thrice.
  • Minimising recall in favour of recognition includes using familiar icons that users already know and can understand without any confusion.

5. Taking accessibility into account

Accessibility is another critical issue that a good User Interface design should consider. So while focusing on the colour scheme is vital to highlight or emphasise your key message, one shouldn’t rely on it entirely and find other ways to communicate information on your website. 

6. Provide a Clear Next Step

Include a clear next step a user can take after an interaction is critical to designing an exemplary user interface design. This could be something as simple as a link to CTA or another related article at the end of an informative blog post. The main idea is to keep users engaged and help them reach the next step without any difficulty. 

Final thoughts

Remember! Creating a user interface (UI) design can be tricky business. No matter how skilled you are or how much effort you put in, you will never successfully appeal to everyone when designing a user interface. You can do your best to appeal to most. You can also try to do your best to personalise the entire experience based on personas and well-defined users. Even so, you’ll never appease everyone.

For further information about how Thinkroom can assist you in both user experience and user interface, please connect with us for a complimentary discussion.

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