If you’re one of the many millions that depend on the Internet throughout your day-to-day operations, then you understand how important website design and usability is. The popularity and convenience of Internet-based-living is undoubtedly here to stay and if you haven’t accepted that yet, it’s time to face the facts. If you rely on the Internet for your business, it’s more important than ever to ensure you are up to speed with your competition. The more efficiently that you use the technology available, and the stronger your website is, the more success you will see. Companies who master these realms gain a huge advantage over their competitors.
Why? Consider this.
If you have ever found yourself on a website and either don’t understand what they’re offering, or cant seem to navigate the page, chances are you close the window and try another one. This is more than likely because the website didn’t have a strong User Interface Design. It tailors to the idea that the customer is always right and makes sure that that statement is mirrored in all of the details of your site.
At the end of the day, if you’re a business that depends on Internet traffic, you need to make sure that you’re User Interface Design is up to par. A lot of companies don’t understand how important it really is. We’re here to make sure that you do. To start that process, you should first make sure that you understand what User Interface Design really is.
What is User Interface Design?
User Interface (UI) Design is the link between users and your website. It includes the basic design elements that need to be present in order to for someone to navigate your site and make decisions. It is the ever-evolving relationship between a person and the system that they are using. It includes the way that your website interacts with users, the overall design and how information is presented.
There are many different ways that you can look at user interface, but the basics always include the communication from a product to the user and vice versa1.
UI Design is all about structure, user manipulation and communication. This is one of the reasons it’s so important that you pay close attention to it. It is the basic building blocks of how your website is set up and functions when visited by your target audience. If it doesn’t go smoothly, problems tend to follow.
Some of the elements involved in User Interface Design include the input controls, navigational components, informational components and containers4. The devil is in the details, as they say. Buttons, lists, toggles, icons, breadcrumbs, tags and more also play a huge role. It is the way that you design your site from the back-end so that your audience can have a seamless, and enjoyable, front-end experience.
Why is User Interface Design so Important?
User Interface Design is one of the reasons that your website will start to see an influx in traffic. It draws people in and keeps them there. It is what makes people recommend your site and become loyal customers. Regardless of what anyone says, it should never be overlooked.
One thing that takes people by surprise is how big of an impact even the smallest adjustments in UI Design can have. For instance, did you know that the shape of a button could determine whether or not someone knows how to accomplish a task? It is a crazy phenomenon to think about, but it’s true. People have certain instincts based on visual details that play into how they interact with a website and developers need to take these into consideration. Design speaks to people and should be taken seriously if you want to be successful
In addition to basic design changes like shapes of buttons and color schemes, chances are people won’t stay on your site if it’s difficult to interact with.
When people visit your website, their user experience should be one of your top priorities. When people have a good experience on your site, the conversion rates are higher and they tend to tell more people about it. This means more chances to get your sales up and even higher opportunities to grow your customer base. When people have a bad experience on your site, the chances of your product or company being rejected increases exponentially. This is especially true if you rely on Internet marketing to get in touch with most of your target audience.
Simply put, UI Design is important because without it you’d probably have to resort to printing flyers and making cold calls. People make snap judgments and when they visit your site, they’d rather spend 30 seconds opening a new site than meddling around on a difficult one. If your customer base finds your website too complicated, confusing or difficult to use/navigate, an otherwise extraordinary product can easily fail1.
People want to be able to understand things easily, which is why most physical products can be figured out without digging through a 1,000-page manual. Making your site’s UI Design understandable without a manual is the difference between complete success and a potentially discouraging failure.
Simply put, User Interface Design is important because it can make or break your customer base. It creates fewer problems, increases user involvement, perfects functionality and creates a strong link between your customers and your website.
How to Have a Seamless Design
So we know that UI Design is important, but how can we make sure we optimize our site? In general, it’s great to have a professional. They bring a team for analysis and can show you exactly what you’re doing right and wrong. However, here are a few basics that should never be overlooked.
Easily Navigable Menus
One thing that we can’t stress enough is the navigation menu. Don’t make things impossible to get to. Every part of your page should be clearly labeled on the navigation menu and placed strategically for the users. Don’t change things up and make your menu hard to find. It will only push people away.
While fancy layouts and multiple interface patterns may be tempting, it actually makes it more difficult for users. When you stick to simple design your target audience is able to see what your products or services are clearly and without confusion. When you have complicated designs, it may look phenomenal, but it’s likely to cloud your underlying purpose. Sticking to simplicity is a great way to increase your User Interface Design.
This is a process that involves watching a group of users interacting with your website or application in order to see what works and what doesn’t. Doing so will allow you to make small tweaks that often go overlooked in having any impact at all. Usability testing was the thing that made one company realize the shape of their buttons made a difference on whether or not someone clicked on it.
Across your website you should make sure that you are using common elements. This allows people to understand patterns and learn how your site works more quickly and more efficiently. Having consistent patterns, languages and functions will benefit you more than you can imagine.
Communication is Key
When something goes right, or wrong, the user should be able to tell. Make sure that your website creates defaults and communicates effectively with your users. You can include default options, pre-filled forms and more. Think of what you would want if you visited your site and go from there. Additionally, make sure that things are worded clearly and in a way that everyone can understand. Keep it short and sweet and stick to your point.
Don’t Ignore Typography
Just as the typography of your website is important in your branding, it also affects usability. It needs much more attention than we used to think and can actually illicit specific responses from users. Make sure that your web designers do research, test out different typographies and optimize everything for convenience. It will make a very big difference at the end of the day.
When you look at the big picture, it’s easy to understand why User Interface Design is so important. It is the reason companies either see success or failure. It is the way that your website speaks to your audience and the way that your audience comes to understand your company. It is the one aspect of your functionality that you shouldn’t ever skimp on or underestimate. If you are just starting out, or think your website could use a boost in User Interface Design, try contacting a professional today. Our web design staff at Plego would love to help.