What Makes a Good User Experience and User Interface?
There are lots of things that need to come together to give users a clean, consistent, pleasant user experience and visually appealing interface. In this blog, we want to take a look at 10 factors – 5 that make a good UX and 5 that determine a good UI.
What is the difference between UX & UI?
If you are wondering about the difference between UX & UI, be sure to check out our introduction to UI/UX design. You can also consult our blog about the role of a UI/UX designer at a digital agency to find out a bit more.
Once you’re familiar with all the basics, we can proceed to discuss the top elements of a good user experience (UX) & user interface (UI).
What makes a good user experience?
1. Don’t reinvent the wheel (keep up to standards)
If it’s not broken, why fix it?
While it’s awesome to think outside the box in some cases, in others it’s optimal to just follow the standards. After all, in the case of user experience – UX design, they’re there to match users’ expectations and wishes.
That’s why it is highly recommended to always follow the newest trends and adapt to them as best you can. That is essential for success in any discipline, but especially one that closely follows the needs of users – the linchpin of your business.
2. Know and understand your target audience (users)
No matter what you’re developing/designing, it’s incredibly important to put your audience first. The most fantastic digital products are the ones that fulfil your users’/customers’ expectations and desires. In UX design, we have a practice called user research, which really helps us in producing a successful high-quality user experience.
So, what do user researchers do? UX research for a new product is a process that lasts throughout the design process and gives designers a detailed look into the target audience the product is for.
There are different methodologies that can be used, for example interviews for qualitative research and A/B testing for quantitative research. In any case, we look at both the cold numerical data and actual responses from target users. That way, we can understand user behaviour, expectations and pain points better and do our best to give them the most remarkable UX we can.
3. Keep it accessible and easy to use
Before designing the visual appeal (UI), we need to make the product as functional as possible. After all, would you focus on painting and polishing your car before making sure it can run properly? Would you enjoy the company of someone who is incredibly beautiful but leaves a lot to be desired in the personality department? Of course not.
Aesthetics matters, but it comes later. The key thing you need to do for a good user experience is make it as usable as possible for everybody. Some people have visual or cognitive impairments, for example. You want to ensure that they will not miss out on your digital product because of that.
4. A well-organised information architecture
We wouldn’t be discussing good user experience if we didn’t mention information architecture. It’s a crucial aspect of a UX designer’s job as it’s a make-or-break factor in the user’s interaction with a digital product.
Information architecture represents the organisation of content on a site/app. Ideally, it should be as clear as possible. You want to avoid complex, confusing and lengthy navigation, otherwise users are highly likely to get frustrated and leave the site/app without ever looking back. So, aside from keeping it accessible and easy to use, also keep your product neatly sorted. This will enable fast information reception and processing and bring you more happy users.
5. Continuous user testing
User testing is an indispensable part of a good user experience. All the effort you put into user research and the design process means nothing if you consider the project a “one-and-done” task and never look back on it once it is finalised.
While testing of various kinds can (and ideally should) be done at almost any stage in the process, here we are talking specifically about consistent evaluation after the design has been implemented. Why user testing is important, you ask? Well, it allows early detection and elimination of potential issues and helps you come up with enhancements. That way, you keep users a priority at all times, contributing to your digital success.
What makes a good UI design?
1. Visual hierarchy
Most users have a short attention span. Let us add to that the fact that the majority heavily rely on the visual appearance of content in order to process it more quickly. That’s one of the reasons why visual content as such is processed up to 60,000 times faster than textual content, as we mentioned in our intro to UI/UX design.
Visual hierarchy in user interface – UI design is closely linked to information architecture. It basically means ranking the design elements in the exact way you want users to view and process them. Managing size, scale, colour schemes, contrast, etc., you draw users’ attention and help them understand the importance of each element. That way, you facilitate their navigation and further enhance the user experience as well.
2. UI consistency
Consistency is an important quality in any design-related discipline. In UI/UX design, it primarily serves – you guessed it – the user’s needs.
The main idea is to simplify the user’s journey across the interface as much as possible. A consistent design, both visually and functionally speaking, allows users to get familiar with the interface faster and more easily, making the overall interaction seamless and experience positive.
3. Good use of colours and typography
While UX focuses on the experience, UI focuses on the aesthetic appeal. This means that a UI designer – a solid one, at least – puts maximum effort and more than enough time into carefully constructing every single aspect of the interface.
Among the most significant elements of an interface are colours and typography. In UI design, typography refers to the overall visual appearance you give text on an interface – font size, width & style, line length, etc.
Since a huge amount of information online comes in textual form, it’s not hard to see why typography is so crucial. The way you use colour and design the typography all comes together to convey a certain message and mood through your digital product. The goal is to make it logical and easily readable, and make sure that it (consistently!) reflects your brand.
Per best practice, you should not use more than a maximum of 2 different fonts on any interface, while the maximum number of colours should be three (main colour, i. e. usually the brand colour; complementary colour; potential third colour).
4. Keep it minimalistic and easy to implement
When it comes to UI design, less really is more. Again – it’s perfectly fine to go outside the box and get creative, but never overdo it. A minimalistic approach to UI design brings numerous benefits that appeal to users, such as:
• Clarity & simplicity
• Easier content processing in the brain
• More intuitive design
• Easier navigation.
Besides, the issue of cluttered UIs is not just the confusion and frustration they might cause among users. It is also a matter of implementation; the more complex the interface design, the more difficult it will be for developers to properly implement. In the long run, that costs you time, money and resources.
5. Make it responsive
It feels a little redundant to say this in 2021, but users are going to be seeing your digital product on a variety of different devices. Make sure that the interface you design is just as pleasant to see and use on each one. This is another area in which consistency takes the cake. Users will appreciate a consistent experience across channels and devices, which contributes to their satisfaction and your reputation and authority.
The bottom line
No matter what, the aim of quality UI/UX design is to give users highly functional, aesthetically pleasing, intuitive interfaces and the best possible user experience. It surely takes time, dedication and effort, but the rewards are massive. Just always remember to put users first and keep up with the newest trends.
If you have any questions or need UI/UX design services, feel free to reach out to us. Digital agency GRM Digital can help you towards an enticing design that will make your users happy and encourage them to become your customers.