A good user interface design leans on three perfectly balanced pillars: attractiveness, usability and high-level business performance. Still, these principles are often neglected, and we all face the examples of:
- Amazing looking but nearly impossible to use websites and mobile applications;
- Very complex and multicomponent business applications that help provide high performance but look … dry as dust.
In our previous article, we talked about the core components of user interface (UI) design process and things that should be done on the first steps. Among them stands users’ research, investigation of product features and business goals. After gathering this fundamental information, you are ready to start the designing process: from the low-fidelity sketches and wireframes to high-fidelity prototypes and mockups with the final design.
Evaluation is essential during all the process. You should assess the quality of design and be sure that user interface complies with users` needs and has all the features of the product.
Let`s bring up a few principles of a good user interface design that we use at Intetics. Of course, it is not ultimate, still following them helps to build a performant and easy to use.
1. Users want you to fill their needs.
- Use the most appropriate page layout. Consider the spatial relationship between items on the page and structure them according to their importance. The most important items should be easily accessible. Appropriate placement draws attention to the most relevant pieces of information and improves readability.
- Design strategically. You can manipulate user`s attention using colour, light, contrast, and texture.
2. Users don’t like surprises.
- Be consistent. Use mutual elements and create consistency of your UI. Users feel more comfortable and can operate quickly when they can find familiar elements and patterns. Besides, the interface should keep the same patterns across languages, layouts, elements, colours and fonts throughout the different pages or screens to help facilitate efficiency.
- Help your users to learn your product. The consistency of UI and using mutual patterns help your users learn easier. When they figure out how to use one part of the product they can apply these skills to other parts.
3. Users don’t like being frightened.
- Make sure the system communicates with users and tells them what’s happening.
It isn’t good when a user doesn’t understand what is going on and how to go forward or back. Use various UI elements to show the status of the task and/or progress of some process. Display the error and notify how to eliminate it.
- Always display the location and give the opportunity to go back.
Familiar UI elements and patterns that give the information of the user’s location and explain how to go back help reduce their frustration. Make sure users understand how to exactly navigate.
- Use the “forgiveness” principle.
It’s good when the interface can prevent some of the user’s errors and gives the opportunity to cancel wrong actions. Give users features like confirmation/cancellation, save and edit later, display the tips (in some cases) etc.
4. Users like being confident.
- Communicate with users when they to do something right.
Interface should always speak to users when their actions are not only wrong or misunderstood but also when they are right and help go forward. Users should be proud and feel confident.
- Don’t be annoying.
Do you remember that the users’ research is the first step of user interface design? UI shouldn’t annoy your target audience.
5. Users don’t like making choices.
- Think well about defaults.
Users do not only like making choices but also do not like doing extra work. Using the UI forms where you might have an opportunity to have some fields pre-chosen or filled out can help users interact with your product and contribute to the business goals achievement.
- Do not provide unnecessary options.
If you give your users, the opportunity to choose. Make sure all options are necessary and/or provide some business value.
6. Users like to speak (and read) in their language.
- Use appropriate language.
All interfaces require copywriting. Provide clear labels for actions and keep your messages simple, not lengthy. Users will appreciate it because they like to communicate effectively.
- Use font type setting to create hierarchy and clarity.
Don’t forget that people read 2 or 3 words at a time. Various sizes, fonts, and arrangement of the text will help to increase scanability, legibility and readability of your pages or screens.
User interface design is a very complicated thing that requires a lot of knowledge, experience and making researches. Following certain rules and main principles can make it easier. Remember that our goal is to produce software products that are attractive and user-friendly.
Have any questions left open? Feel free to get in touch with us. Intetics team is always ready to give more details and help you to create a good UI.