A Guide to User Interface (UI) Design

Have you been interested in redesigning your user interface? Yext has the complete guide to get you started.

min read

A positive human-computer interaction is paramount to pretty much every website, online service, or business profile that lives on the internet.

The last thing your company wants is potential clients turning away and going to your competitors because your page was confusing or difficult to use.

But remember that users aren't just looking for an aesthetically pleasing service. That might even be the quality they care the least about. Users want a page that functions extremely well, is incredibly easy to use, and its readability is engaging and relevant.

A well-designed page can make or break your positive conversion rates. And with 1.8 billion websites available to users on the internet, it's more critical than ever that your website stands out.

This is why it is so important to put in the time to create a site that's accessible and enjoyable to use. Whether it's a software product your business creates or a company website, a well-crafted UI is one of the most valuable tools you can use to bring users to your page and make sure they keep coming back.

What Is User Interface Design?

User Interface design, or UI design, is about arranging the content on the page or product and structuring the paths users might take to optimize how they might interact with your product. There are several different types of user interface these days with growing technologies, such as the visually interactive design that you're most likely most familiar with.

But there are also voice-activated interfaces, such as Siri or Cortana, becoming more and more popular. On the horizon, expect to see gesture-based interfaces as virtual and augmented reality become more widely available.

While User Experience design, or UX design, might seem similar, it's more of an umbrella term covering the actual content itself. How the user perceives and interacts with the product.

The UI design is focused more on the presentation of the service. The colors you choose, where images and logos are shown, animations, and the general page layout are all examples of User Interface design.

Important Qualities Of Successful User Interface Design

There are a ton of factors that go into a great user interface design.

And while aesthetics might seem like they would be at the forefront, most users are mainly focusing on functionality over form.
Not to say that your website can look terrible. Style is still a key factor. But focusing on the usability of your page or service application will help hone in on the most important qualities your users are looking for.

User Control

While using your company website or service application, the user should feel like they're in control of the interface and not the other way around.

This increases usability and time spent on your platform, which leads to higher conversion rates from your users.

One simple way of offering control to your users is to incorporate an Undo/Redo function. Whether they're creating something in an editor or inputting a series of data logs, users will feel much more comfortable if they know they can backtrack their mistakes.

Simplify

This might seem like an obvious one, but reducing all irrelevant components on the page will make things look sharper and increase the ease of use for your client.

Don't make them navigate around a lot of unwanted noise. Keep things simple and straightforward so that what they want is easy to find. This could include straightforward terms and not choosing unfamiliar keywords for the sake of uniqueness.

Keep in mind the simplicity of the user interaction. Does your service ask for the same information more than once? Or require the client to jump through hoops?

Users aren't going to want to input data much, to begin with, let alone several times.

Limit the amount of content on the page and the amount of effort it takes for the user to reach what it is they are after.

Consistency Is Key

Consistency within your design will improve how quickly your user learns and understands your product or page and thus how comfortable they are.

For instance, if you had a "Purchase" button on one page that looked different than a "Purchase" button on the other, your client might spend valuable time making sure that this button is the one they should be pressing.

The inconsistency in user interface design tends to look sloppy and scam-like, which will have clients immediately closing out of your service and looking for another.

Mobile Access

About half of all online users were using mobile devices in the last few years, so it's safe to say it's pretty important to make sure your layout is mobile-friendly.

This is a fairly simple concept to address but incredibly important in this day and age.

Responsive Feedback

Interaction reactions on your website can make users feel much more involved and cared for while using your service, and it doesn't have to be much.

Consider a simple example- A user clicks on a button, and the button acknowledges them by briefly changing color. Even an indication this straightforward lets the user know that their input has been heard.

You might consider slightly more complex feedback options as well for less used buttons or actions. Animations or uncomplicated popups to demonstrate to the client that their interactions are being received and operated on immediately.

Convenient Navigation

The last thing you want your users to do is to look around a page, wondering how they're supposed to get to the next, or previous, page.

Site navigation should always be straightforward- Clear and easy-to-read visual prompts can be a major help in directing users to what they want.

As well as visual signals, make sure that your buttons and pathways are aesthetically well-designed and obvious so that your user can know exactly where each route is going to take them.

An easy and dependable way to add an extra level of navigation is by implementing an internal search engine. Instead of requiring your users to wander through your site, a search engine can get them to what they're looking for faster.

This boosts your conversion rates and gives you the opportunity to suggest similar products and collect valuable consumer data.

Keep In Mind Users of All Experience Levels

Whether you're developing a user interface for your application or your online store, you'll want to remember to focus on your demographic and who you're designing for.

Users have a wide range of experience with technology and potentially similar interfaces as yours, but if what you create is too complicated, you'll end up turning them away to your competitors.

Even if your goal demographic group consists of more technologically comfortable users, creating an entry-level introduction page or walk-through that new users can learn from will be incredibly useful.

Adding an optional skip button will also come in handy for those who don't need it. You want to ensure that unfamiliar users have the option to learn how to use your interface without wasting the time of those who are already confident.

Prepare for Positive Error Experiences

Even the most well-thought-out interfaces have the potential to run into errors. It could be that the user is looking for something that doesn't exist or your system itself malfunctions.

Creating a welcoming and useful error protocol will comfort your users instead of brewing frustration. Offer insights into how they can find what they are looking for instead of the ever-infuriating "Oops!" page.

In Conclusion

A well-crafted user interface can make your customer's experience that much more enjoyable, which in turn keeps them coming back.

By anticipating their needs and requirements, you can create a page or application that meets their goals when they arrive, instead of turning them away due to frustration.

Keep your interface clean and simple- Don't overwhelm the users. A touch of interactive responsiveness can go a long way to make them feel in tune with your service.

Stay consistent with your design in both form and function throughout the entire system so that your user can be confident when navigating.

The consumer relies on your service to be easy and enjoyable to use while also providing them with the products they need.

With this guide to creating a successful user interface, we're confident that you're on the right track to growing your online business.

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