User Interface Design is the design of websites, applications, or products with the main focus being on the users experience and interaction. User Experience is one of the most important elements to a fully functional product, and with a poor design it can lead to a poor experience and overall feel from the users. So in this post I will share a few quick ways to improve your user interface designs.
Be sure to check out our previous post highlighting the 6 most common ux mistakes, and how to fix them.
Have you ever noticed that some of the most popular sites and products in the world have similar user interface patterns, and flows? This isn't by accident. Users tend to feel more comfortable with what they know. This doesn't mean a similar design overall, just layouts, and flows that are common. To learn a bit more in depth about user interface patterns, check out uipatterns, they have incredible tips, inspiration, and proven facts about user experience in user interface design.
Along with following the patterns of previous successful products in the world, you must also be consistent within your own products user interface. This allows the user to repeat actions because the user can relate to similar user interface components from previous pages on the site or product. Try to keep the layout, design, and feel consistent so that the user feels comfortable moving through the app or website and needs little help understanding how it should be used.
Simplifying a user interface is probably the hardest, but most essential process. Often designers confuse user interface and user experience with lot's of cool effects and visual things. Truth be told, the most thought out user interface designs are the ones you don't see. The subtleties that help you use the website or product easier are what make it so great. User Interface at its core isn't meant to be seen. Take time to remove, reduce, and refine your user interface design. This is how you create simplified user experiences.
Visual focus can be described as visual hierarchy. At its core visual hierarchy is the order in which the human eye perceives what it sees. This is important in a clean user interface in order to help the user find the important elements first and slowly descend to less significant elements. By adding value to the important elements it can help the user perceive a product in an easier and quicker fashion allowing for the experience to be better.
Ease of Use
Always think of the user first, remember that some things that are blatantly obvious to you (the designer), may be obsolete to the user. It is important to think through how the user will go about using your product. Consider the complex parts and add feedback. Guide the user so that they don't have to struggle. In form users of actions, changes, and errors to simplify the process. Visual cues as subtle as they may be often help the user more than you think, so don't forget them.
User Interface's still can be beautiful. Don't think simplified means design without style. It simply means think of the user first. Remember that function always trumps fashion when it comes to design. Look at sites like craigslist or reddit with millions of users ever single day, this is the perfect example of why the beautiful side of design isn't always present in a perfectly functioning product.