Principles of UI Design
The creation of a high-quality user interface implies the principle “the user is above all” and the corresponding methodology for the development of the entire software product. For the software to be good enough, the users must feel that they are managing it, not the other way around. When creating that feeling for the user, the user interface design aspects listed below have to be taken into account.
According to the article by Ditte Mortensen, a natural UI design is one that does not force the users to change their usual ways of solving the issue significantly. It means that the messages and results produced by the application should not require additional explanations. It is also advisable to preserve the notation system and terminology used in this subject area. The use of familiar to the user concepts and images creates an intuitive interface. It becomes a kind of “bridge” connecting the images of the real world with those actions and objects that a user has to manipulate. Users remember the action associated with a familiar object easily than they would remember the name of the command associated with that action.
Consistent UI allows users to transfer existing knowledge to new tasks, master new aspects faster, and focus on solving the problem, rather than waste time understanding the differences in the use of certain controls, commands, etc. By ensuring the continuity of previously acquired knowledge and skills, consistency makes the interface design recognizable and predictable.
Clarity is the one of the key features any interface should possess. Ben Shneiderman also believes that for an interface to be effective and user-friendly, it must be recognizable, predictable, and have an obvious purpose.
The users need to understand what they interact with through the interface. There should be no confusion. Clarity is about giving users confidence and willingness to continue interacting with the interface. Many clear screens are better than one messy one.
The primary purpose of an interface is to allow people interacting with the world, to match the system and the real world through the interface, we get access to services. Interfaces perform specific tasks, and their effectiveness is measurable. However, they may go beyond practical applications. The best interfaces are those that surprise, inspire, awaken feelings and strengthen the experience in interaction with the world.
Ø Strong Visual Hierarchy
The article by Tubik Studio explains what a strong visual hierarchy is and how it helps the user understand the order in which the visual elements on the screen should be viewed. It allows setting the sequence and smoothly directing the user’s view from one interface element to another. With a weak visual hierarchy, the interface looks overloaded and messy.
Ø Step-by-step Information Flow
The screen has to show only the necessary information. If a person has to make a choice, it has to provide enough information to make a decision and proceed with details on the following screens. There is no need for unnecessary details all at once. They should be delivered gradually. Invisibility
Contrary to popular belief, one of the keys and common UI design principles is its invisibility. It allows the user focusing on the goals without being distracted by the interface. Although it might be hard for a designer to implement, less is better.
Ø Clear and intuitive user navigation
Where is the main menu? If you have ever asked yourself the same question, you’ve probably had to deal with a poorly designed user interface.
A highly qualitative user interface should consist only of necessary elements and have a good structure. A well-created UI takes user experience in a priority.
For instance, a car-renting website should not be cluttered with unnecessary buttons, menus, and visual elements but rather offer the option to rent a car right on the main screen.
Thus, it will decrease the time users need to navigate your solution to accomplish a task.
Ø Target audience is well defined
A digital product with a clear understanding of its target users can achieve higher user retention and engagement.
The main task of any web or mobile app is to solve users’ pain points, which is impossible to do without knowing how they interact with an application.
Preliminary and in-depth market research, engagement of the best practices from similar products, as well as evaluation of the target audience, is a cornerstone of a good user interface. This allows acting on the needs and wants of a user from such an analysis and transfers the solution to the pain points on the app interface.
Ø Consistency is the key
The problem of consistency is persistent in good user interface design. It concerns everything: from colors, icons, and fonts, to the placement of menus and buttons. The issue becomes even more critical if changes are due and the designers who worked on the first version are no longer available.
Top digital solutions do not surprise their users with drastic changes. Instead, they use brand books and company style guides to follow the unified style and consistency throughout UI design.
Ø Transparency of user actions
When clicking on a button, you expect to see some feedback. Leaving users without any is considered to be bad manners in UI design practices.
When users click on a menu, a good practice is to confirm the action with some indication of successful operation, like animation, color change, pop-up
window, progress bar, etc.
Conclusion : -
In conclusion, UI design is successful when people are using what you've designed. Like an impressive looking chair that is uncomfortable to sit on, design has failed when people choose not to use it. Therefore, interface design can be as much about creating an environment for use as it is about creating an artefact worth using. It is not enough for an interface to satisfy the ego of its designer, or a dream visualized by a marketing team : an interface must be used!