Career Advice

What Businesses Should Know About the Importance of UI Design

3
min read
Mikaela Thompson

UI (User Interface) design is no exception to this. Think buttons, icons, toggles, tags, typography, colour schemes, customer support features, text boxes, drop down menus etc., That’s UI design in full view.

“As far as the customer is concerned, the interface is the product.” (Jef Raskin, Human-Computer Interface expert.)

When it fails, potential customers bounce! While online shopping, there’s little more frustrating than when the website popping up is so cluttered and unclear it’s near impossible to work out how to navigate it. Who of us would bother trying? No way, no need, it’s back to the next site on the search engine listing.

In this respect, those customers are not just rejecting your overcomplicated, confusing website, they’re tossing out your company and its products too. People make snap judgments when they visit your site. They’d rather spend a few extra seconds opening a new site than muddling around on a difficult one.

“The trend of design toward simplicity and accessibility in software happened for a reason – simple sells, simple’s usable and simple scales.” (Rand Fishkin, founder at Moz.)

If you’re one of the millions of businesses depending on the internet for your daily operations, you’ll know, or will soon learn, how important website design and usability is. Internet living is here to stay propelled by the seemingly never-ending pandemic which has changed the way we shop, work, and learn, probably forever.

How UI functions

An effective UI is important because it can turn visitors to your site into buyers by facilitating interactions between the user and your website or web applications. Looking beneath the surface of appearances, UI is actually an intricate field. It anticipates users’ preferences then creates a UI tailored to understanding and fulfilling these preferences. Design testing ensures the details support the users’ needs and expectations thereby removing any guess work or misplaced designer ego.

Therefore, UI’s not only concerned with aesthetics but also optimizing your site’s responsiveness, efficiency, and accessibility. If UI design is doing its job well, it will offer a seamless blend of visual design, interaction design, and informational architecture. More specifically, UI design covers graphical user interface (GUI) where users interact with visual presentations on digital control panels; voice-controlled interfaces, such as, smart phone assistants Alexa and Siri; gesture-based interfaces e.g., body motions in virtual reality games. Good design takes time, patience, and dedication. It doesn’t happen ad hoc or overnight.

“Practice safe design: Use a concept.” (Petrula Vrontikis, graphic designer and Lynda author)

The dos of effective UI design for online businesses:

Whether you’re hiring a professional UI designer or not, you need to be able to recognize if your business’ website UI design is in fact decent and going to help optimize users’ experiences on it – potentially increasing conversion rates and improving your business’ revenue. A great UI can boost your website’s conversion rate by 200% (SmallBizGenious; Forbes).

To this end, check out these must-dos.

“Usability does not equate to a specific number of clicks, taps, swipes, pinches, flicks.”

(John Morkes, Principal and founder of Neet UX)

1) Make easily navigable menus, use simple interfaces, clear, concise language and avoid unnecessary elements, such as, multiple interface patterns, fancy layouts etc.

“Keep things simple stupid!” (Clarence Leonard ‘Kelly’ Johnson, Aeronautical and systems engineer)

2) Employ usability testing. It’s important to see groups of users interacting with your website to see what works and what doesn’t. Avoid high bounce rates by tweaking problem areas.

2) Be consistent by employing common UI elements of which users are familiar. This will ensure user comfort and gratification by making it easy for them to get tasks done quickly.

3) Create smart, purposeful page layouts drawing attention to the most important features of your website.

4) Make sure the use of colours and textures effectively pull users to a particular component.

5) Your site needs to prioritize communication with its users. They need to be aware when things go right or wrong. Create website pre-filled forms and default options that communicate well with users.

6) Don’t forget about typography, it’s important. It affects both your branding and site usability for visitors.

“Typography needs to be audible. Typography needs to be felt. Typography needs to be experienced.” (Helmut Schmid, graphic designer and typographer.)

7) Make sure the UI experience is enjoyable or at least frustration-free, so customers will return to your site.

8) Stand back and assess whether your UI design communicates brand values and establishes and maintains users’ trust.

9) Keep in the forefront of the UI design that users, and potential customers, only care about getting things done easily with a minimum of effort. The optimal UI design will be invisible to users. Through customer journey maps, get to know your users’ contexts and task flows. Then hone your UI design to support these.

Conclusion

Step back and take a moment to look at the big picture to see why UI design matters so much to your business. It’s the way your website speaks to your target customers. It’s how they come to understand your brand and company. It’s the reason your online business will thrive or collapse. Don’t cut corners or underestimate it!

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