User interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design play a crucial role in the success of a website or app. If users can’t find what they’re looking for or perform the actions they want to do easily, they’re likely to go elsewhere. In this article, top-rated designer Satbir Singh takes you through 10 tips to keep in mind when designing products or features.
1. BE A GOOD USER
To design a good UI and UX, it’s essential to think like a user. Consider how the user will look at the website, web app, or mobile app. Think about how to create the best design that makes everything easy to find and navigate. You don’t need to go with today’s latest design trends—stick with what works best for your user. Keep any requirements in mind, but balance that with what a user wants to see. And don’t be afraid to think outside of the box.
2. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
A really important step early on in the process is to identify your audience. Know who you’re trying to reach and what’s important to them. Before you can start brainstorming ideas, it’s critical to know who you’re designing for. One way to get insight into your audience is to research your competition and their customers. Take a look at their blog and read through the comments to see what their users are saying. They’re likely to have a similar mindset as your users or it’ll at least give you a starting point to work from.
3. Make your content and features stand out
Why are you creating an app or a website? Of course, you’ve got products or features that you want to share with other people, but keep your designs action-oriented and consider how users will interact with them. Users are on your website or app because they want to do something or learn about the features and product. Make it easy for them. They shouldn’t have to hunt or try too hard to do whatever action they’re there to do.
4. Avoid excessive scrolling
Users don’t like to scroll. Try to keep each screen or page short and break things up in an intuitive way. Add tabs or navigation to move things to separate sections or pages. If you’ve got a lot of content for a feature, try adding a button with a catchy call to action that users won’t be able to resist to take them to the next page.
5. Typography is a must
Typography helps users navigate through your product, features, and content. It can be simple and elegant at the same time but should always be easy to read and shouldn’t get in the way of their progress. It takes skill to apply typography to content to make it interesting while also ensuring it’s helpful to the user and has the correct visual hierarchy. Users love to read content with great typography, and when done right, it’s a huge plus in UI design.
6. Keep it simple
Lindon Leader, the designer behind the FedEx logo, once said, “I strive for two things in design: simplicity and clarity. Great design is born of those two things.” Everyone loves minimalist and simple design. Keep your layout, forms, and buttons simple, but leverage colors, icons, and images to make your UI interesting. Don’t try too hard to add gradients, shadows, patterns, or glow. Flat designs are classier and easier for users to process. Keep them interested by using elements such as images, buttons, and colors to add visual interest.
7. Make things easy for you and for your user
If you’re creating a web app or mobile app, your goal should be that the user will never need to use the “Help” button. When you’re creating a wireframe for your site, put yourself in the user’s seat. Make sure the content is organized in a way that will make the most sense. Place buttons and actions where a user would want them and need them, whether it’s an “Add to Cart” button on a product page or a “Sign up” button. Keep it simple and be a good user.
8. Add options and shortcuts
Everyone loves to have options and be able to get things done quickly. Once you’ve decided on the layout, the next step is to add more options and create some shortcuts. How? For example, add “Show more” or “Hide” buttons to longer pieces of content that give the user the option to bypass content they don’t need. When the user has experience with shortcuts, they’ll feel comfortable with it. This is how we can help the user.
9. Test, improve, and make the user feel safe
Done? Review it again. And again. It’s never too late to reinvent something. Always keep trying to improve the experience. The goal is to make the user feel comfortable with the program; you don’t want them to get bored, or worse, confused or frustrated. For example, instead of having every tip appear on the screen (which is likely to annoy the user), create a section just for tips where new users can get to know the program and feel more comfortable with it.
10. Ask other people for input
This is an important—and potentially invaluable—part of the design process. Ask friends or colleagues who aren’t familiar with the app or program to test it out and provide a fresh perspective. If you can observe them using the product and see where they might have questions or difficulties, that can be even more beneficial to creating great UI/UX design.
This story was submitted by freelance writer Satbir Singh and does not constitute the views or opinions of Upwork.