Effective user interface (UI) design is about removing as many obstacles, bottlenecks, stumbling blocks, and potential causes of confusion as possible from the user experience. This is extremely important for users to stay on your website. The aim is to create an experience that all users find fluid and intuitive to navigate that will keep them coming back to your company. Here are 10 fundamental UI principles to keep in mind creating and maintain your business’s website:
1. Keep the UI design simple
It may be tempting to put a lot of neat backgrounds and graphics to draw attention, but too many could actually be detracting and cause confusion. Make sure the navigation is clearly identifiable. Leave room between text and photos so that they do not run into each other. Visitors need to able to read important information so avoid too fancy fonts and text colors for the body copy.
2. Predict & preempt
Before you start designing you must know who your target audience is. Who are your products or services for? Create a primary, secondary, and anti-client profile. This will help you create content that is relevant to the end user as well as predict what they might need in the future from your company.
3. Put the user in the driving seat
The user should feel as though that they are in control of their experience. This means if there are any issue with page speed, image loading, or form/cart functions on your website they need to be fixed immediately. Optimize videos and photos for the exact size you need. Think mobile first as most users check Google from their phone. Make sure pop-up newsletter subscription or discount boxes are easy to exit out off. This will help reduce bounce rate and keep visitor on your site longer.
4. Be methodical & consistent
Your website should align with your brand. Make sure images, fonts, and format match or look similar your other marketing materials. If possible, have a brand guide that contains brand color pallet, logo information, and the vibe information (aka photo or illustration samples). Headings, navigation, and body text should be consistent from page to page. Micro changes are expectable but avoid messing with the justification paragraph settings too much as it is unprofessional looking.
5. Avoid unnecessary complexity
Keep click steps to a minimum. For example, a purchase button should go to a cart and then a checkout form. This is 3 steps. Add anymore and you increase the chance of clients abandoning the product. This goes for forms as well. No one likes to spend an hour on a task that should take 10 minutes. Employment forms are notorious for been too long and burning out potential candidates. Have name, contact information, and message (upload resume/file if employment forms).
6. Provide clear signposts
Make sure that page architecture is simple, logical, and clearly signposted. Users should never be in any doubt as to where they are within the website they are or where they need to go next. Buttons should go where they say they should go, and calls-to-action should lead the visitor through the sales funnel with ease. Page Headings should be clearly visible at the top of it assigned page and easily identifiable from other text.
7. Be tolerant of mistakes
Have undo functions or breadcrumbs just in case a visitor clicks on the wrong page, epically if your website is large. You want to make it easy for visitors to go back to the beginning. Sometimes using the back button on the browser isn’t a first thought or even visible. This will also help you avoid lost data and give the visitor confidence that if they mess up, they don’t have to exit your website.
8. Give relevant feedback
Have way for clients to provide feedback about your product, service, or website function. This can be through a comment section, a rating system, ticket system, or with use of off-page notification (email campaign or Google review). Make sure to reply to the comments, especially the negative ones. Negative reviews can also be helpful when creating a FAQ page. You can have a “how we are improving” section. Including customers into the improvement process will help strengthen their attachment.
9. Prioritize functions
Before launching your website. Have someone test the functions. Make sure your website accomplishes your business goal. If there are any broken links, have a developer fix it, but maybe have a well-designed 404 page in case of future breakage. If there is any confusing layout that might interfere with the sales process, make adjustments. Running a website can be a full-time job, so either have someone internally oversee web updates or hire a web agency that provides web maintenance.
10. Design the UI for accessibility
Alt tags and meta descriptions make it so an e-reader can understand what is happening in an image and relay the information back to the user. This is important for users with a visual impairment. Label your images accordingly. Also make sure your design has enough contrast for increased visibility. This task is why most business hire a professional designer or agency. Knowing the correct colors, complementary fonts, and layout for maximum visibility for visitor of all types is done by research and user testing.
Ready to create a website using these principles? Call 248.528.360