The Importance of User Interface Design
If you’re one of the many millions that depend on the Internet throughout your day-to-day operations, then you understand the user interface design is for your website or application. The popularity and convenience of Internet-based-living is undoubtedly here to stay and if you haven’t accepted that yet, it’s time to face the facts. If you rely on the Internet for your business, it’s more important than ever to ensure you are up to speed with your competition. The more efficiently that you use the technology available, and the stronger your website is, the more success you will see. Companies who master these realms gain a huge advantage over their competitors.
Why Is User Interface Design Important? Consider This.
If you have ever found yourself on a website and either don’t understand what they’re offering, or cant seem to navigate the page, chances are you close the window and try another one. This is more than likely because the website didn’t have a strong User Interface Design. It tailors to the idea that the customer is always right and makes sure that that statement is mirrored in all of the details of your site.
At the end of the day, if you’re a business that depends on Internet traffic, you need to make sure that you’re User Interface Design is up to par. A lot of companies don’t understand how important it really is. We’re here to make sure that you do. To start that process, you should first make sure that you understand what User Interface Design really is.
What is User Interface Design?
User Interface (UI) Design is the link between users and your website. It includes the basic design elements that need to be present in order to for someone to navigate your site and make decisions. It is the ever-evolving relationship between a person and the system that they are using. It includes the way that your website interacts with users, the overall design and how information is presented.
There are many different ways that you can look at user interface, but the basics always include the communication from a product to the user and vice versa.
UI Design is all about structure, user manipulation and communication. This is one of the reasons it’s so important that you pay close attention to it. It is the basic building blocks of how your website is set up and functions when visited by your target audience. If it doesn’t go smoothly, problems tend to follow.
Some of the elements involved in User Interface Design include the input controls, navigational components, informational components and containers. The devil is in the details, as they say. Buttons, lists, toggles, icons, breadcrumbs, tags and more also play a huge role. It is the way that you design your site from the back-end so that your audience can have a seamless, and enjoyable, front-end technology experience.
What Impact Does User Interface Design Have on Websites and Applications?
User Interface Design is one of the reasons that your website will start to see an influx in traffic. It draws people in and keeps them there. It is what makes people recommend your site and become loyal customers. Regardless of what anyone says, it should never be overlooked.
One thing that takes people by surprise is how big of an impact even the smallest adjustments in UI Design can have. For instance, did you know that the shape of a button could determine whether or not someone knows how to accomplish a task? It is a crazy phenomenon to think about, but it’s true. People have certain instincts based on visual details that play into how they interact with a website and web and software development companies need to take these into consideration. Design speaks to people and should be taken seriously if you want to be successful
In addition to basic design changes like shapes of buttons and color schemes, chances are people won’t stay on your site if it’s difficult to interact with.
When people visit your website, their user experience should be one of your top priorities. When people have a good experience on your site, the conversion rates are higher and they tend to tell more people about it. This means more chances to get your sales up and even higher opportunities to grow your customer base. When people have a bad experience on your site, the chances of your product or company being rejected increases exponentially. This is especially true if you rely on Internet marketing to get in touch with most of your target audience.
Simply put, UI Design is important because without it you’d probably have to resort to printing flyers and making cold calls. People make snap judgments and when they visit your site, they’d rather spend 30 seconds opening a new site than meddling around on a difficult one. If your customer base finds your website too complicated, confusing or difficult to use/navigate, an otherwise extraordinary product can easily fail1.
People want to be able to understand things easily, which is why most physical products can be figured out without digging through a 1,000-page manual. Making your site’s UI Design understandable without a manual is the difference between complete success and a potentially discouraging failure.
Simply put, User Interface Design is important because it can make or break your customer base. It creates fewer problems, increases user involvement, perfects functionality and creates a strong link between your customers and your website.
How to Have a Seamless User Interface Design
So we know that UI Design is important, but how can we make sure we optimize our site? In general, it’s great to have a professional. They bring a team for analysis and can show you exactly what you’re doing right and wrong. However, here are a few basics that should never be overlooked.
Design Easily Navigable Menus
One thing that we can’t stress enough is the navigation menu. Don’t make things impossible to get to. Every part of your page should be clearly labeled on the navigation menu and placed strategically for the users. Don’t change things up and make your menu hard to find. It will only push people away.
Use a Simple Design
While fancy layouts and multiple interface patterns may be tempting, it actually makes it more difficult for users. When you stick to simple design your target audience is able to see what your products or services are clearly and without confusion. When you have complicated designs, it may look phenomenal, but it’s likely to cloud your underlying purpose. Sticking to simplicity is a great way to increase your User Interface Design.
User Interface Testing – Usability Testing
This is a process that involves watching a group of users interacting with your website or application in order to see what works and what doesn’t. Doing so will allow you to make small tweaks that often go overlooked in having any impact at all. Usability testing was the thing that made one company realize the shape of their buttons made a difference on whether or not someone clicked on it.
Be Consistent with Your UI
Across your website you should make sure that you are using common elements. This allows people to understand patterns and learn how your site works more quickly and more efficiently. Having consistent patterns, languages and functions will benefit you more than you can imagine.
Communicate with Users About the Interface and Their User Experience (UX)
When something goes right, or wrong, the user should be able to tell. Make sure that your website creates defaults and communicates effectively with your users. You can include default options, pre-filled forms and more. Think of what you would want if you visited your site and go from there. Additionally, make sure that things are worded clearly and in a way that everyone can understand. Keep it short and sweet and stick to your point.
Don’t Ignore Typography
Just as the typography of your website is important in your branding, it also affects usability. It needs much more attention than we used to think and can actually illicit specific responses from users. Make sure that your web designers do research, test out different typographies and optimize everything for convenience. It will make a very big difference at the end of the day.
User Interface Design Examples
Here are some user interface design examples applied to websites and web apps for Plego clients.
- Magic Chef Inventory and Forecasting Application
- Wausau Homes Custom 5-Step CRM System
- Novo Surgical Custom Magento Ecommerce Site
- 3DPlatform.com Website Redesign
- SMISS Website Redesign and Membership Platform
When you look at the big picture, it’s easy to understand why User Interface Design is so important. It is the reason companies either see success or failure. It is the way that your website speaks to your audience and the way that your audience comes to understand your company. It is the one aspect of your functionality that you shouldn’t ever skimp on or underestimate. If you are just starting out, or think your website could use a boost in User Interface Design, try contacting a professional today. Our web design staff at Plego would love to help.
Frequently Asked User Interface Design Questions
Below, we’ve done our best to answer some common questions we receive about UI design. If you have more questions or would like to discuss user interface design for a new or existing site or application, please reach out to our team for a free consultation.
What is the user interface design process?
- First, map out how users will interact with your site or application (interaction design and/or user journey)
- Decide on visual design basics such as color palette, typography, and shapes & textures
- Outline your information architecture by defining categorization, labeling, navigation, and search
- Choose input controls, navigational components, containers, and informational components
- Follow these best practices:
- Be purposeful
- Keep the layout simple
- Be consistent
- Use colors and textures for directing or redirecting attention
- Use typography to create hierarchy and improve readability
- Make sure the page(s) or application communicates information and calls to action clearly
What is user interface programming?
User interface programming is the process of creating a front end sample that mimics the functionality of a page or application before they have actually been built. It is the process of designing and coding the graphical elements and controls that users interact with on a computer or other device. This can include everything from buttons and menus to windows and dialog boxes. This is done in order to provide a concept that comes to life for the users evaluating the design.
What is user interface design prototyping?
We think that AgileModeling.com defines this very well: “User interface (UI) prototyping is an iterative analysis technique in which users are actively involved in the mocking-up of the UI for a system”. It is the process of creating a model or simulation of a user interface to test how it will work. This can be done with paper and pencil, or with software tools.
What is user interface testing?
- The first type of UI testing is functional testing. This type of testing ensures that the application is functioning properly. This means that the application has no bugs and does everything it is supposed to do.
- The second type of UI testing is performance testing. This type of UI testing ensures that the application runs quickly. If the application takes too long to load or run, users will not have a good experience.
- The third type of UI testing is usability testing. This type of UI testing ensures that the application is easy to use. This means that the user can easily understand what is happening and what to do next.
- The fourth type of UI testing is compliance testing. This type of UI testing ensures that any data returned is accurate, proper terminology is used, content adheres to branding and tone guidelines, and more – this will vary by organization.
- Finally, there is visual design testing. This type of US testing ensures that a page or application passes the 5 second test, that users are able to intuitively complete tasks, and get feedback on how users feel about using the interface.
What are user interface elements?
UI elements are the parts that are used to build a website or application. This includes but is not necessarily limited to navigation elements, input controls, containers, and informational components. There are subsets of elements within each of these main categories; for instance, input controls can include form elements like text fields, check boxes, radio buttons, and more.
Where can I find a user interface design course?
There are a lot of great UI design courses available. Here are a few that we think deserve a mention:
- Springboard UX/UI Design
- DesignLab UI Design
- SkillShare UI Design
- Experience Haus UI Design with Figma
Where can I find user interface design templates?
While we don’t recommend simply using a UI design template without first understanding the fundamentals of user interface design, here are some places where you can find templates in a pinch (or if you already know what you’re doing and want a starting reference point):
- Dribbble UI Design Templates
- 20 Free UI Kits from Appcues
- Webflow Premium UI Kits for Designers
- Figma Community UI Templates
- ThemeForest UI Templates
- Envato Elements UX and UI Kits