The user interface or user experience design of your product or service is playing a vital role in having a successful web presence and being successful with your business in general. It takes a lot of skill, time, effort and testing to create an optimal UI. There are many philosophies on how to achieve great results with your interface and today we’ll walk you through a few of them.
Creating a good user interface is a complex process that requires you to take many aspects into consideration. But your goal is quite simple. It’s to create an interface that helps users achieve their goals as easily as possible and as joyfully as possible.
To do that, you need to understand both them and your own goals completely. You’ll have to rely on a lot of information you get from the experience angle to know how the user flow is going to play out, identify any problems and determine key hierarchies and how product areas will look like.
If you have a well-rounded idea of what you want your users to experience and reverse it from there, you’ll be on your way to making a successful user interface. You should know your users almost better than your product, to know how they can benefit from your service and how you can provide them with a quality experience.
We have already covered the main aspects of a successful user interface and why they are so important in one of our previous article. There are a lot of factors to juggle with when it comes to developing such an interface and it’s important that you don’t let any of the particular aspects lessen the quality of others. For example, don’t let creating an attractive interface compromise any of the functionality or don’t overdo the aspect of clarity with additional texts.
In this article, we’ll give a guide to better understanding your potential users and your overall audience. Knowing how they think, what they’re looking for and how they use your website or service will prove to be of great help when you place different elements of your interface. After that, we’ll move on to some tips that will help in making an interface that much better suits your users.
So, without beating any more around the bush, let’s get started!
Understanding the User
In actuality, users don’t behave much differently from the way people shop in stores. They come in, look around and check out anything that comes close to what they wanted in the first place. Analyzing people is of key importance to creating a successful UI design and it is needed to aim the design in the right direction. Creating a list of clear goals is an important step towards defining what your interface should include and how it should function. The important questions to consider are:
How familiar is the user with technology?
What does the user want my interface to accomplish?
How would a particular user interact with the interface in a normal scenario during their visit?
Understanding the users doesn’t launch the project but it helps a lot in setting goals. Even after you have your goals established, the process of understanding your user’s behavior continues.
Use the data from Google Analytics (user paths, keywords and successful interactions) and gather feedback from interviews, surveys and social media interaction. This will help you develop much better content and remove any barrier that might hold you back.
How Users Search
One of the most important things to consider when you’re placing various elements and content in your interface is that users don’t read through your page, they scan it. As users analyze your webpage they search for certain points that will guide them through the content of the webpage. These key points help them pick the information piece by piece until they can grab on to what they came for.
Once you used this to guide them in the right direction, they will want to see quality content. It’s incredibly important to provide users with high-quality content. People are willing to compromise the content they view with ads or the design of the website if they find your content to be top quality and worth viewing.
How Users Think
Internet users are incredibly impatient and insist on getting what they want instantly. A site has to meet the users’ expectations; otherwise the company will lose money. The more they have to think about navigating and finding content, the less intuitively they navigate and the faster they’ll leave the site.
Users are looking for a way to just fly through websites instead of reading through the information that a designer has provided. Users simply don’t care. They follow their intuition and just muddle through your website. Web users don’t scan websites in a linear fashion; they just let their attention jump around and click on the first reasonable option they come across.
Although they don’t care too much, they still want to have control over their browser and have content presented to them consistently throughout the entire site. This means they wouldn’t like any windows to pop up unexpectedly and they want to navigate back to exactly where they came from with the „back” button.
How To Make The UI Better for Users
Now that you know how users analyze your website and how they think, its time make some moves to take your UI one step further.
Don’t Make Users Think Too Much
What a webpage stands for should be obvious and self-explanatory. As you’re creating your website, you should weed out as many question marks as possible. Make sure that the site’s architecture is intuitive and users can comprehend how the system works and how it can get them from point A to point B. A clear structure and complimenting visual clues make sure that they can easily find links and the path they aim for.
Work on Catching Users Attention
With web pages offering both static and dynamic content, some parts of the UI attract more attention than others. Images obviously catch more attention than text, just like bold or colored text grabs more attention than plain text as well.
For example, having a word like „free” written with large letters is going to stand out and will instantly catch users’ attention. It will have a lot more interest, make the site much more appealing yet stay purely informative. It will let the user know that he or she is about to receive a free product.
Focusing your users’ attention on certain visual elements will help in getting them from point A to point B, without thinking about how it should be done even for a second.
Keep The Users in Control
Human beings feel most comfortable when they are in control of the environment and themselves. If your software is thoughtless, it will force users out of that comfort with confusing pathways and unplanned interactions. Keep them in control by surfacing a system status regularly and give insight into what they should expect at every turn of your page. Don’t be shy about stating the obvious. It almost never is.
Don’t Expend Users’ Patience
Like we mentioned before, users are highly impatient beings. So always make sure that when you are offering visitors some kind of service or something valuable, keep their requirements to the minimal. The less information and action is required from users to try a service, the more likely it is that a random person will actually test it out. First time visitors will be willing to play with a service only if it doesn’t require them to fill out long forms for an account that many of them won’t even use in the future.
Let users discover your website without having to provide too much of their personal data or tinker with their email accounts.
Make it as Simple as Possible
„Keep it simple” is a principle that should be a primary goal of a website’s design. Users rarely visit a website to enjoy its design. Most of them are looking for information and aim to get it as simply as possible.
The best design for users is pure text without any advertisements or content blocks getting in the way of their information. They are looking for the content that is matching the exact query they used to find your site with. Give users what they want as simply as possible without overcrowding them with any unnecessary content.
Consistency is Important
As we mentioned previously, screen elements should remain consistent with each other throughout the web page. If they do so, they should also behave in a consistent manner with each other. Basically, elements that look the same should act the same as well. It is also important for elements that are unlike the others to appear that way.
This concludes one of our articles about better understanding your users. We only covered the tip of the iceberg, so we’ll continue with another article in the same topic. We’ll cover further details on understanding user behavior and implementing various UI designs that complement them. So stay in tune for more!
I hope that you have found this information useful and that it will aid you in improving any project you might be working on!