10 User Interface Design Fundamentals
By now the benefits entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small agile companies receive through the use of a hosted web-based user interface is no secret. However, you should be aware of the design fundamentals to manage web configuration and user interfaces to implement effective online marketing tools to gain a real business advantage.
1. Know your user: that's your target customer
Your user’s goals are your goals, so study them. Learn about your user’s skills and experience, and what they want and need. Find out what interfaces they prefer and if you can, sit down and watch how they actually use them. By focusing on your user first, you will be able to create an interface relevant to them and lets them achieve their goals.
2. Pay attention to user patterns
Users spend the majority of their time on other platforms and interfaces other than your own. May it be Facebook, MySpace, Blogger, news websites, etc. Those interfaces may solve some of the same problems that users perceive within the one you are creating, and by using familiar UI patterns, you create a familiar environment for your users to use.
3. Empower your user
When your user is familiar with your interface, reward him/her and try not to tweak so much as it could be cumbersome and distracting. Providing keyboard shortcuts and the like will allow your graphic design user UI to get out of the way.
4. Stay consistent
Your users need consistency and they need to know that once they learn to do something, they will be able to do it again. So it would be best that your language, layout, and design are consistent. A consistent interface allows your users to have a better understanding of how things will work in your website, increasing their efficiency.
5. Speak their language
All interfaces require some level of copywriting. It is important to keep messages simple and conversational, not sensational. Provide clear and concise labels for actions and your users will greatly appreciate it.
6. Use visual hierarchy
Design your interface in a way that allows the user to focus on what is most important: aligned with your business goals. The size, colour, and placement of each element should work together. It should create a clear path to understanding your interface.
7. Provide feedback
Your interface should at all times speak and reach your user. It should tell him when his/her actions are both right and wrong or misunderstood. Always inform your users of web tweaks, errors, or exceptions that occur. Creating visual cues or simple messaging that show the user whether his or her actions have led to the expected result will be of great help to web usability.
8. Keep it simple
The best software UI designs are invisible no UI-bling or unnecessary elements. Instead, the necessary and relevant elements are brief and make sense. Whenever you are considering additional feature or element to your interface, ask yourself: “Does the user really need this?” Are you adding things because you like or want them? Never let your desire to boost your UI ego make you lose your users.
9. Be forgiving
Your UI should allow for and tolerate user error because no matter how clear your design is, people will make mistakes. Try to design ways for users to undo actions. Also, if the user made an error, use your messaging as a teaching tool by showing what action was wrong, and ensure that she/he understand the cause of the error and knows how to prevent the error the second time around.
10. Keep moving forward
When developing interfaces you need to fail fast and iterate often. When creating a user interface, you will make mistakes. It is a normal, definite thing. Just keep moving forward, and remember to keep your UI out of the way.
Of course, in the grand scheme of things, it all comes down to picking the right UI design for your website. Sure, there's a tonne of functionality to discover, but the basics are relatively intuitive to someone who's used to it. It can save a bundle in training costs. The extra UI functionality is just the cherry on the sundae for lucky users who would love you for it.
Do you want to know more and start applying the UI design fundamentals you’ve just read? Learn more from our experts straight from your desktop.