User interface design: tips.

Among the most important touch points are digital interfaces. All the more reason to be picky about design choices and to strive for a high quality of experiences.

By Jordan Lambert19th December 2018

Digital interfaces are a major way of interacting with companies and organisations today. Customers are using a range of digital services and they will expect something better or just as good as to what they are using day in, day out. Digital products should make interactions easy and time-saving, especially when performing tasks and completing transactions. They should please, from a task flow perspective as well as visually.

Design plays a key role in keeping users happy and coming back for more. The following tips outline how interfaces can be made intuitive to use and follow design principles to ensure visual quality.

Usability is key.

An effective UI design will contribute to a great user experience (UX). Through a thoughtful layout and visual design, we can ensure that the important content is easy to navigate and digest. The key is to create a clear journey that allows the user to perform their tasks with minimum effort.

Your website or app may be the first touch-point for potential customers and can be a differentiator in the market. Good UX will ultimately contribute to the overall customer experience and is a great way to build trust. If a customer finds it easy to use your website or app they are more likely to get a quote or complete a booking.

Layout and design: form follows function.

Visual hierarchy and clarity.

  • Let the design breath, use white-space. Elements and content placed close together result in visual clutter which confuses the user.
  • Use typography and graphical elements to highlight and break up information.
  • Organise information by grouping similar content.
  • Introduce sticky objects to make important content always visible. Remember to only have one sticky element visible as any more will become a nuisance to the user.

Consistency.

Re-use elements and keep the entire layout styling consistent - including type, spacing, colour and any other graphical elements. Any difference in pages will disrupt the overall design and make the user question whether they’re using the same interface they started on.
Use global patterns, don’t reinvent them. The product should follow behaviour patterns that everyone is used to. Any element behaviour and terminology should also be consistent throughout the product to avoid confusing the user. 

Task flow.

  • Always provide feedback when an action is performed. Users need to be informed when an action is completed or activated.
  • Reduce the number of actions it takes to perform a task. Having a high number of actions will not only increase the time to complete a simple action but potentially confuse the user mid-action.
  • Keep elements close to the content they control.

Colour theory.

  • Colour is a powerful tool that can help highlight content. Use the contrast between colours to separate elements such as a navigation and breadcrumb.
  • Remember that people perceive colour differently. All colours should be accessibility checked to make sure that anyone can use the product.
  • Enforce the brand’s visibility in the product by bringing its colour palette through.
  • Do not overload the interface with a range of colours or too much colour. This would visually distract the user and overshadow functionality.

Typography.

  • Make sure the chosen typeface is legible, readable and scannable at different sizes.
  • Use a typeface that has a range of weights. Combining weights creates hierarchy in type.
  • Typefaces are more than just a family of characters. They have a personality that can set the feeling of the overall design. Choose a typeface that has a neutral feeling.
  • Use no more than two typefaces and make sure that they complement each other.

Create trust, create bonds.

Expectations are set on effective interfaces. Design isn’t something that’s just made to aesthetically please the user, it gains and builds that user’s trust. People are more likely to share personal data on a well-designed platform than on an outdated one. That trust is not just built towards the interface - it follows through to the company behind it and integrates into the whole brand experience, turning users into customers.

At Inspiretec, we recently launched the new version of our CRM, Holistic 5.0. One important component of the new release is its redesigned user interface where ensuring a clear and user-friendly design was a major objective.