What are the key principles of UX/UI design?
UI/UX design is an incredibly dynamic field. Trends change every few months, and, accordingly, the requirements and realizations change. However, there are fundamental principles the designer’s work is based on. If you rely on these principles, you get the perfect combination of attractive, stylish, and user-friendly applications or websites.
Focus on user’s need
Your user is the central figure for UI/UX design. Therefore, the first step is defining user personas, their behaviour, requirements, habits, and goals. It’ll help you make their experience as enjoyable and straightforward as possible, not just possible.
Here we are talking about the organization of content on the site, order, scaling, etc. Sometimes understanding how screens should change each other and what images should be placed side by side can be a decision-making factor. It’s also about distinguishing the main elements on the page and the ways to highlight them.
A clear hierarchy helps the user scan content effortlessly, highlight essential and secondary things, understand what steps should be taken next.
Inability to understand what happens after a particular action is why numerous users close your website and keep looking for an alternative. For example, if a user chooses to download a file, he must show that the download has started and is in progress. If the page is loading, it is desirable to have a skeleton page, so it’ll be obvious for the user how it will look like and that it’s loading right now.
This allows you to redirect the user’s attention from the fact of waiting for progress.
Match with reality
Design should be the logical extension of the world your potential users live in. We are talking about language, trends, and related things here. Look at your product in the user’s eyes. First of all, avoid professional jargon and technical terms.
Rely on your marketing research. Having data about your audience, you can understand what it finds impressive, what language speaks, what its eyes and ears are used to so that everything is as organic as possible.
Freedom for user
The UI/UX designer’s task is to guide users, help them reach their goal faster and easier, present alternatives, and show all the necessary information along their way. But the user is the one who makes decisions.
Make it possible for them to go back, cancel particular action, select another option. Follow the principle of Google Docs, where the user can go back, undo moves, and so on.
Make it possible and easy to read your website for most of your audience. Colours, elements’ size, fonts – find the middle ground when they’ll all be acceptable to people with limited colour perception.
Pay extra attention to contrast and colour selection for the background and the text. Here are some tips on the topic:
- Background colours are muted.
- Blue is used for text links.
- Red is for warnings or mistakes.
- CTAs require a strongly contrasting tone that stands out from the rest.
Consistency and standards
The website design and the product should be perceived as a whole. This can be achieved by using the same colours, fonts, etc. For example, look at the Microsoft Office product suite. Each of them is different, has other functions, purposes, and methods of use. But when looking at each of them, you immediately understand that they are part of one set of products.
It is unlikely that your users will enjoy entering a login and password every time they refresh the page. Or losing the entire shopping list. Or setting filters again and again, and again.
Find the balance between remembering and security. Ask for re-entering a password after the page being inactive for 10 minutes, for example, but not with every refreshment.
Flexibility and efficiency of use
The design should provide equally convenient use for both new users and experienced ones. If the first few visits feel like an introduction to a complex subject and you need to understand what’s what and how it works, most users will fail to understand what to do.
Intuitive – this is the quality, which should be taken as a goal in this case.
Aesthetics and minimalist design
Minimalism has been in trend for more than a year, and it does not look like it will change. It’s not just that it looks modern and stylish. It’s about functionality and the ability to focus on the primary thing by making less effort.
Here are some fundamental rules:
- One goal per page;
- The main message is always highlighted for size or colour;
- Graphic and text blocks complement each other.
Informative error messages
Error messages should be clear, including explaining what was done incorrectly and the correct option (password, for example). A tiny drop of humour is always welcome; it helps to block negative associations.
This also applies to errors that do not occur through the user’s fault. For example, most people know what a 404 error is. But any other raises questions. Why not add a few words about what went wrong and when it’s going to be fixed?
Take a look at Youtube. Not only are you notified that you are offline, but you are also advised to try reconnecting and reloading the page. They don’t show you an error code.
Help and documentation
Lack of documentation can be risky, especially when talking about collecting customers’ data, contacts, etc.
Drawing the line
UI / UX Design is a field that requires a creative and analytical approach at the same time. The flight of fancy should not deviate from the basic principles. It should be a way to follow them and create a unique, attractive, modern, user-friendly, and profitable product, unlike any other. More information, consulting, and real UI/UX professionals – here.