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Tuesday, 05 May 2015 07:57

7 Tips for Creating a Distinctive and User-friendly User Interface

A user interface is what the user can see, hear, touch or even talk to when communicating or interacting with a device or computer software system.  And the proper design of a user interface (UI) can make a significant difference in a person’s online experience.

So how do you go about creating a UI that is not only effective but that stands apart from another?

It’s taking into consideration the following 7 critical elements that should be integrated into the design process:

1. To the Point

Ensuring your UI is not overloaded with unnecessary information is important so as to avoid the act of searching for something on your website becoming a potentially difficult or tedious process for a user. Including content that needs to be there but keeping it brief and to the point is not always an easy task - but - achieving this balance is key.

2. Self-Explanatory

Simple navigation is crucial when designing a UI because as far as a visitor to your site is concerned – good functionality and ease-of-use is what makes for a good user experience.  Having a UI that enables someone to interact with your website in an easy manner - where finding what they need becomes almost intuitive, quick and efficient - should be top of your list when designing it.

3. Consistency

To achieve a good user experience the user needs to feel a sense of familiarity with the functionality of the UI - consistently.  The way in which a UI functions needs to remain constant – this is because users expect the same results when they interact the same way with different elements of a particular system; it makes navigation thereof more logical, familiar and consequently easy to use.

4. Responsiveness

A responsive system is more than just one thing. First of all, responsive means fast - waiting for slow interfaces is frustrating. Responsive also means the interface provides some form of feedback - it needs to be able to talk back to the user to inform them about what’s happening. Have they pressed that button successfully?  Is the content still loading? Responsive also has to do with how an interface behaves with different resolution devises. Responsive platforms enable interfaces to take a different shape and form when viewed from different devises (mobile phones, tablets, desktops) so as to facilitate a more pleasant navigation consistent to each devise and resolution.

5. Attractive

It‘s not all just about the information on a UI – it’s also about how that information is presented. If your UI is pleasing to look at then a user will enjoy exploring it. Try to achieve the perfect balance by keeping it simple (beauty in moderation!) and add design features to enhance users functions. Your goal is to create a visually pleasing interface that still allows users to get the job done without any fuss.

6. Efficient

A good UI allows enables actions thereon to be performed timeously and efficiently.  This means you need to create an interface intelligent enough to foresee what the user is trying to achieve, and help the user achieve exactly that intuitively. To attain that type of efficiency means you need to identify how the application should ‘work’ — what functions does it need to have, what are the steps each different user will need or want to take and what the user will expect to find in each step? A successful interface will guide people effectively through your website – assisting them to utilise it to its full potential.  

7. Reversible (actions)

Having the ability to reverse a particular action on a website is very important in terms of achieving a good user experience – particularly one that encourages visitors to your site to explore it without fear. How many times have you been on a website and made an error? Maybe you pressed the wrong button, navigated away from a page you wanted, or accidentally deleted something. It is essential that your user interface can remedy these mistakes quickly and efficiently and even with just the click of one button. Your user should feel risk-free and safe when interacting with your UI. A simple undo or retrieve command makes all the difference.

Of course trying to combine all of these qualities is not an easy task and achieving a good balance takes skill and time.  But getting the qualities listed here will definitely help in the making and design of your successful user interface.

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