Updated August 2019
Effective user interface design starts with attention to detail. Your UI is the face of your site or app, and potentially even your brand. It’s a visual representation of your company in the digital world. Having the perfect user interface is more important now than ever.
The details of your design often give users the first impression of your business. If your experience is intuitive, memorable, and error-free, users are much more likely to remember and recommend your brand. The qualities and details of your UI design translate to the perception of your business as a whole, which contributes to more traffic, sales, and new opportunities.
Today, UI designers should challenge the idea of creating “user personas” to promote the idea of talking to the actual people using the product. User personas are fictional characters that are created to represent a user that would use a product. User acceptance testing (UAT) is where actual users test the product to make sure it works like it’s supposed to.
UAT provides interactions with real people which help designers see the connections between the product and the user. Real people provide insight on exactly what they’re looking for in a product. When designers understand the problem from a user’s perspective, they can craft solutions that align with their needs, ultimately leading to a successful product. If you have the time and money, UAT is the route you should take.
By keeping up with current user interface design best practices, UI designers can always provide cutting edge, quality UX design.
User Interface Design Best Practices
A proper user interface design aligns with the target user’s needs with the end goal of providing a seamless experience. Rather than just spending time on the aesthetics of design, it’s important for designers to focus on the usability. With this in mind, here are some common user interface design best practices:
Intuitive workflows and design consistency
Your application should have a user interface that is intuitive and requires minimal effort to complete a task or objective. If users can navigate your application or website with ease, then you can praise your UI.
This seamless flow comes from ensuring that the elements across your application enhance your user’s experience. The best way to test this is by going through user testing to ensure that workflows are easy to understand. As users navigate through new screens within an application, the actions should be consistent so they become second nature.
Designing for intent
Designing for intent means that you are purposeful about your development, making the most of your time while being able to explain every feature and detail of your design.
Designing for intent involves improving the product quality and adaptability. This is when you compartmentalize design and copy for the intended purpose of a feature. Understanding all of the details helps ensure that every creative decision has intent.
A finger-friendly interface
This ensures that users can easily access all of the app’s elements on their mobile devices. Having buttons that are too small will be a challenge for larger fingers, and certain areas of the screen are harder to reach for the thumbs, such as the top of the screen. As such, placing navigation buttons at the top of the screen may look good on paper, but can sometimes be awkward in practice on a mobile device.
Ethics in technology
The way we create technology makes a huge impact on many areas of people’s lives such as safety and psychology. There are trending ideas of what UI designers should consider in design like being useful over delightful, obvious over fancy, consistent over dynamic, and accessible over visually appealing.
“I love that design thinking pushes you to go out there, to make these face-to-face connections and in doing so, you have to challenge your own bias and your own assumption that you make if you are really going to create a product that empowers these people.” –Benjamin Evans, Design Lead for Airbnb’s anti-discrimination team
Designing for the majority demographic
When designers interact with the majority demographic of potential customers, they can optimize their products for this target audience. For example, talking to millennials about creating a social media app will likely provide more insight than talking to boomers about the same app.
Icons play a big part in mobile apps today, but they should be well thought-out to be effective. When implementing icons into your user interface design, you’ll want to make sure it’s clear what function they represent. You’ll also want to make sure they’re visible on a wide variety of screens and devices.
Spotify recently redesigned their icons to improve the accessibility over different devices. They also found their old ones were complex and hard for users to understand.
Following User Interface Design Best Practices For Good Business
Throughout the user interface design phase, designers will want to make sure that their designs are accessible and within ADA compliant design standards. This ensures that their software products are optimized and accessible for people with temporary or permanent disabilities. By making sure that the user interface is legible, the app can be used by individuals who may be colorblind or visually impaired. This means considering the colors and the contrast between the text, buttons, and the background.
It’s equally important to consider the behind-the-scenes development to make sure that interactions with your app or website are possible for those with disabilities. For example, by adding alternative text to images, visually impaired users can better understand the image on the screen.
For designers today, it’s important to shift their focus from aesthetics to usability and accessibility. This helps ensure that their design makes their software easier to navigate for those with disabilities.
Seamgen has extensive experience staying on the cutting-edge of web and mobile app UI design. What is user interface? It’s the face of your brand in today’s world. To stay ahead of the curve, contact us today!