UI Design

Principles in UI design

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Credit to Anna Yashina

The user interface (UI) is a very important part of any product software. It is so subtle that users barely spare a thought for it when it is done well, however, when not properly done, it would not only impact user experience, the end goal of the whole product would be effectively defeated.

This is why many UI designers follow certain design principles; to increase their chances of success. There are so many of these principles all over the internet; from Jakob Nielsen’s 10 Usability Heuristics for UI Design to Ben Shneiderman’s Eight Golden Rules of Interface Design, from Bruce Tognazzini’s Principles of Interaction Design to Lucy Lockwood’s six principles of UI designs. For me, I use a combination of these principles and I have decided to share some of them in today’s post.

Consistency is key

If you are looking to take away stress from your user, the most important thing you can do as a designer is to focus on making sure the structure of your user interface design is consistent. You must ensure that your designs are always purposefully arranged in meaningful and useful ways based on clear and consistent models understandable by users. You can achieve this by putting related things together and separating unrelated items.

Keep it simple stupid

Always keep your design very simple. Make routine actions easy, speak in your user’s language and ensure to create very easily accessible shortcuts so users do not get lost while navigating longer procedures on your product.

User should be able to navigate around the program easily. He or she should also be able to know how to use the buttons and elements on the program so that he or she can customise the system to suit their needs.

Show only what is important

Your design should be such that everything your user needs to complete a task is available without any distractions to the users. The best designers don’t overwhelm users of their product with information that they do not need per time.

Give cues

Navigation should always be clear and self-evident. Good UI puts users in their comfort zone by providing some context of where they are, where they’ve been, and where they can go next. Providing visual cues can help you do this efficiently.

Talk to your user

Users like that their actions are acknowledged; they also want to know the current state of some of their actions. Good UI designs communicate this using unambiguous language to users. For every user action, the system must be able to show a clear feedback. This would help users achieve their goals without friction.

Show system status always. Users tend to be a lot more patient with products when they are able to see system status on what is going on and they have feedback about the status of the process. You would probably feel a lot better when you see the current progress and the amount of time left for your upload and download than if you didn’t.

Prepare your designs to forgive

Good UI designs are not only be flexible, they are also tolerant. This means that if a product user makes a mistake in the course of use, options are available to undo and redo. On the other hand, the best UI designs work to minimise errors wherever possible by allowing for varied inputs and attempting to decode all reasonable actions.

You must know though that errors cannot entirely be avoided in your UI designs. This is why it is important that you craft an effective error message and more importantly, provide hints for solving the problem. The best UI designs have polite and constructive error messages. You may want to see error messages in Gmail and Mailchimp as examples.

Make it reusable

It is important to allow your designs to be able to reuse internal and external behaviors, so as to reduce the need for users to rethink and remember. You must also always keep your product updated. When you do, you make it very relevant to the users.

Give priority to usability

Ease of use must always be a priority for every UI designer. Good designers are always looking for ways on how they can design a great user interface for the computer or a mobile phone. A very good UI designer should also be able to make his or her program easy to use and should not just create an interface that is good enough for the basics, he or she should be able to create something that can easily be modified.

Work one; work all

A good UI designer is able to create a product that is usable across all devices. If the user has a tablet or desktop, he or she should be able to use the product. If a program is not designed to be used across all devices that can be possibly used by users, it would probably do no good.

Cede control to the user

Good UIs keep their users comfortable; allowing for mistakes and providing timely solutions. If however, a product is designed in such a way that users feel that they have to be extremely careful with every action, they might not find it fascinating enough to explore it.

Accommodate users with different skill levels

You might want to include tutorials and site navigation images to help users who are rather new to your website. It is also important that you avoid jargons; use language that would be easy to understand by your proposed users. Employ words, phrases, and concepts familiar to the user, rather than system-oriented terms.

The Conclusion of the Matter

The target for UI designers today is to create user-friendly interfaces: UIs that encourage exploration without fear of negative consequences. Employing these tried and tested principles can go a long way in helping product designers to achieve that.

Principles in UI design are guidelines and benchmarks for designers to follow and measure their works after when developing a product for a business. They are very important because they will help make sure that the product you are creating is very good quality.

If you want your program to be efficient, then you need to hire a UI designer who is capable of designing one following these rules.