Over the past few decades, businesses have begun to focus on the experiences they provide to their customers. Whether this is simply a fast food restaurant asking for your name or a big player like Amazon going to great lengths with their customer service, it seems as if everyone is getting on board. This extends even to the world of design, especially that of UX design and its closely related counterpart UI or user interface design.

In order to provide your users with the best possible experience, you must give them the tools they need. This is where user interface design comes in. The reason why UI is so important is that it can define your ability to provide a memorable user experience, something that in today’s market can make or break a customer relationship. Without further ado, let’s take deeper look at user interface design.

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What is user interface design?

Starting off at the beginning, what exactly is user interface design? User interface design (UI) or user interface engineering is the design of user interfaces for machines and software, such as computers, home appliances, mobile devices, and other electronic devices, with the focus on maximizing usability and the user experience.

Or, in simple terms, user experience is the way your customers feel about interacting with your product, and the user interface is how they interact with it. UX design cannot exist without a well thought out UI design and vice versa.  By focusing on the usability of your product, you are giving your customers the tools they need in order to be successful and create for themselves the user experience that they crave.

Why you should care

If you are still having trouble understanding why this is something you should care about, let’s take a look at a few examples of the power of user interface design. First, it makes sense for your wallet. According to Invision, in 10 years, a $10,000 investment in design-centric companies would have yielded returns 228% greater than the same investment in the S&P. This shows that not only does focusing on UI improve your customer experience, but make you more profitable as well.

On top of that, when it comes to the digital world, sound user interface design is essential when you understand that 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience. Additionally, first impressions are 94% design-related, meaning that unless you want close to 90% of your users walking out the door, you need to make sure you have good design already in place.

How to get the most out of UI

Now that you have seen the extent that good interface design plays a part in your user’s overall experience, you are probably thinking about your own design and wondering how to get the most out of the process. After all, no one wants to be losing users, especially over something that is within their control.

Don’t fret! We have just what you need. What follows is a few best practices and guidelines to follow when putting together or reviewing your user interface design. Each of these has the potential to greatly improve your user’s experience, so make sure to not miss any of them when running through your design checklist.

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As intuitive as possible

Sound UI design should be as intuitive as possible, meaning that user’s won’t have to look far in order to find what they are looking for. Thankfully, in today’s data driven world, mobile app analytics and other user engagement metrics can provide valuable insights on how customers interact with your interface. By analyzing this data, you can create an intuitive platform that serves customers in an exceptional manner.

Avoid information overload

Along with being intuitive, user interface design should aim to only provide users with the information they need at the time that they need it to avoid information overload. Providing users with as much information as possible can seem like a good idea, but in practice it simply adds to the distractions.

Instead, UX designers will tell you to create an interface that presents information to users on a need-to-know basis. If you can place the information that they need before them right when they need it, users will never have to go searching for more and will have a much more efficient experience.  

Unambiguous messaging

Although most picture any form of design, even UI and UX, as artistic or visual, messaging and word choice are also important when creating a good user experience. Your messaging needs to be as clear and unambiguous as possible so that users will not be confused when you provide them with instructions. Remember: if users can’t understand how to do something within your interface design, it’s not on them it’s on you.

Logical and relevant sorting

Another aspect of sound user interface design is logical and relevant sorting of information, whether on your app or website. While it would be ideal to have triggers that simply provide the desire info to users when they need it, this is not always possible, which is why making the information easily accessible through logical grouping is so important.

This goes doubly so when it comes to web development when compared to mobile. Since users will often be coming from a search engine, they will be trying to find information as quickly as possible. If they can’t find that information, they will leave and visit a site where they can.

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Consistency above all else

Probably one of the easiest ways to improve the user interface design of your software, app, or website is by holding consistency above all else. In fact, some say that consistency is the most important aspect of creating a good user experience. When users do things in the same way each time, they learn more efficiently and build on their previous knowledge.

However, one mistake can cost you the appearance of consistency, which is why it is important to make sure your design and interactions are the same across your interface.

Avoid distractions

Finally, as you have seen so far, sound user interface design is all about providing relevant and usable information. Unfortunately, not all information that you might consider relevant is truly useful to your users and may instead serve to distract them from your design’s true purpose. Avoid this by utilizing user data to make logical decisions when it comes to what information to provide.

Final thoughts

As you have seen, user interface design is a fairly simple and logical practice when it comes down to it. Trouble only comes when designers seek to overcomplicate things or try too hard, when a simpler approach will almost always work better. The hard part is putting all of this into place and continually maintaining your design to keep it in top shape.

We hope that this article was able to provide you with the reason you might have been looking for to get involved with user interface design. After all, when a brighter future for your business might be around the corner, why not take steps toward a better user experience? Invest in user interface design today and trust us, you won’t be disappointed.