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User interface design is unique in that it strives for invisibility. When done right, the user shouldn’t be aware of the design as he or she is using a product. This is because, at its core, UI is about functionality. The design contributes to the product’s goal of assisting its users to solve a problem. It should be so seamlessly integrated into the product that the user isn’t even aware of the design.
What Is User Interface (UI) Design?
Before we dive into what makes for good UI design, let’s first talk about what UI design really is and what it does.
User interfaces are the access points where users interact with designs. User interface design is the process designers use to build these interfaces in software or computerized devices. Designers seek to provide interfaces, which are easy to use and help users quickly solve a problem or meet the need that brought them to the site, app, or software in the first place. However, it’s important to note that UI design isn’t restricted to solely visual design. It can also be interactive (3-D) or voice-activated.
Top 6 UI Design Principles
Our top 6 design principles strive to answer the question: what is a good interface? What design elements make an interface work well and conversely, what design elements make an interface function poorly? Let’s dive in!
Designing intuitively is one of the best ways to create outstanding design and a defining principle for good UI design. The impact of design that is easy to follow and guides the user through his/her journey is never to be underestimated. Unfortunately, UI design is not a place where creativity and innovation are particularly important. At the UI phase of design, it’s about helping your user get the job done— painlessly.
While perhaps the most obvious principle, it’s an often undervalued and underused maxim. The golden rule is to keep interfaces simple with one item or task per page. This avoids overwhelming, confusing, or distracting the user. Good UI design isn’t about putting a lot of information in one place, it’s about guiding a user through his or her journey as smoothly as possible. So rule number 1, keep it simple.
Keep it Consistent
Consistency should not be underestimated. The entire interface experience should have one cohesive look and feel. The fonts, colors, buttons, placement, and so forth should adhere to the idea of consistency. This creates patterns that work for the user to make his or her journey easier.
As a user is moving through a software program, he or she needs to know what to do to continue with the momentum. The next steps should be clear for users as they progress through the interface. Leaving a user hanging is a terrible idea, as is giving them too many options or tasks to complete. Good UI principles include easy to navigate next steps.
Know Your Audience
Whenever possible, UI designers will want to take advantage of data that a business may have regarding its clients to make more informed decisions about its user interface. For example, if the user demographic for a beauty app is young women from ages 18-25, it wouldn’t make sense to use the same exact principles that you would if designing an app targeted at senior men over age 65. This is why more businesses rely on data to provide strong insights and make important decisions.
To be impactful, design must also be visible (excluding audio UI). Emphasis should be placed on the hierarchy of fonts and readability, placing the most important buttons or type first and making them the largest font. Type fonts and sizes that are easily legible are also highly important. This is not the place for a flourishing calligraphy style font circa 1776. The designer will take into consideration that the client may be using a small screen such as a mobile phone to use the interface and select fonts appropriately. The UI design should also be scalable according to the device being used.
Also included within the category of visibility is color. Strong UI design will draw attention to main features by using color so long as it doesn’t overwhelm the user or overpower the screen.
For more best practices, see our blog, Everything You Need to Know About User Interface (UI) Design.
If you want to develop an app, create a website or a software product, we can help with your user interface design and much more. From conception to optimized product, we’re here to turn your vision into a reality.
If you're looking for a nearshore user interface partner, user experience, software development service or a technical staff augmentation service, Pixel506 can help. We are located in Costa Rica but also have Pixelians (team members) based in Peru, Nicaragua, and Colombia. We help businesses gain a competitive advantage and exceed business goals through software development, design, user experience strategies, data, and innovative solutions. Founded in 2009, we have over a decade of experience helping big, medium, and small companies succeed in the digital world. Contact us today to see how we can help―we look forward to getting to know you and your business over a digital cup of coffee.
- User interfaces are the access points where users interact with designs. User interface design is the process designers use to build these interfaces in software or computerized devices.
- Our top 6 design principles strive to answer the question: what is a good interface?
- Intuitive interfaces, simplistic design, consistency, easy road mapping, using data to know your audience and visibility design are six principles that make for outstanding UI design.
- Pixel506 can help you design and develop your mobile apps, websites and software products.
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