What is UI. User interface
A website is much more than just pages connected by links.
It is a space where a company or an individual finds many things with which they can communicate and interact with other people or multiple elements that make up the interface.
This interaction creates an experience for those who visit the site, and as web designers, it is important to ensure that this experience is as optimal as possible.
Hence its close relationship with user experience (UX).
The user interface is the set of controls and channels through which users can interact with a machine, such as all the components of a computer (keyboard, mouse, screen…).
Here, we will provide some recommendations to make the user interface of a website much more optimized and achieve the goals you have for your e-commerce.
First, we need to understand that there are different types of user interfaces, but here we will focus on the UI of websites.
Let’s take a look,
Types of User Interface
Multiple types of user interfaces can be found, which share characteristics such as usability, accessibility, and the potential to be intuitive and user-friendly. These types of interfaces include:
1. GUI – Graphical User Interface
All the graphical content observed in interaction channels, such as images and the design displayed on web pages, software, and applications.
These are the elements that graphically indicate the actions or commands a user should perform to interact with what they are looking for.
It can range from the graphical and accessible part of various tools like a Word document to the capabilities developed over time with smartphones, capable of determining locations, developing predictive text for messages or emails, accessing multiple apps, having voice commands, facial recognition, and more.
2. VUI – Voice User Interface
There are currently multiple mobile and desktop devices equipped with voice recognition interfaces.
The voice interface can identify language and tone of voice to respond to tasks or actions, such as Google Assistant or Siri on Apple devices.
3. Website User Interface
Everything located on web pages to access menus, shopping carts, graphics, informative content, and tools that users can access to facilitate their shopping process, reading, or general interaction and experience.
A website is much more than a group of pages connected by links.
Web designers now have the exciting task of making a user interface visually appealing, stimulating, and aligned with business objectives.
UI vs. UX
UI design is often confused with UX design, but in reality, UI design is more concerned with the surface and overall feel of a design. UI design is a skill in which the designer constructs an essential part of the user experience. UX design covers the entire spectrum of the user experience. An analogy is to imagine UX design as a car and UI design as the dashboard.
UI in the Digital World
So, let’s clarify once and for all. Unlike UX, User Interface (UI) design is a strictly digital term.
The user interface is the point of interaction between the user and a digital device or product, such as the touchscreen on your smartphone or the touchpad you use to select your preferred coffee type from a coffee machine.
In the context of websites and applications, UI design considers the appearance, feel, and interactivity of the product. It’s about ensuring that a product’s user interface is as intuitive as possible, which means carefully considering every visual and interactive element the user may encounter.
A UI designer will think about icons and buttons, typography, color schemes, spacing, images, and responsive design.
Like user experience (UX) design, user interface (UI) design is a multifaceted and challenging role. It is responsible for translating the development, research, content, and design of a product into an engaging, guiding, and responsive experience for users.
UI design is a purely digital practice. It encompasses all the visual and interactive elements of a product interface, including buttons, icons, spacing, typography, color schemes, and adaptive design.
The goal of UI design is to visually guide the user through a product’s interface. It’s about creating an intuitive experience that doesn’t require the user to think too much.
UI design transfers the brand’s visual strengths and assets to a product’s interface, ensuring that the design is consistent, coherent, and aesthetically appealing.
Guidelines for excellent UI design
Invisibility is a fundamental element of great UI design. A great UI design goes unnoticed, in the sense that users can navigate a website or application and find what they’re looking for without encountering challenges or getting confused by page elements. Simplicity, familiarity, and consistency are some of the most important principles that a UI designer should keep in mind. Consider the following UI design tips from industry experts like Apple and Google.
- Format the content to fit the intended device screen. Users should not need to zoom or scroll horizontally to view all the content on a page.
- Ensure there is adequate contrast between the background and page elements, such as text, to enhance readability.
- Alignment applies not only to text but also to buttons and images to demonstrate relevance and user relationship.
- High-resolution images are essential for all image assets.
- Ensure that your UI design is responsive. Whether users view the UI on a large screen, a small screen, in portrait or landscape mode, they should be able to read and navigate it with ease.
Key Principles of UI Design
An easy way to remember the fundamental principles of UI design is to learn the four Cs:
The four Cs of UI design
- Control. Users should be in control of the interface.
- Consistency. Use common elements to make your UI predictable and easy to navigate, even for novice users.
- Convenience. Interaction with a product should be an easy and comfortable experience.
- Cognitive load. It’s essential to be mindful not to overwhelm users with content. Be as clear and concise as possible.”
Accessibility is another crucial aspect of UI design. To adhere to the four Cs, each one must hold true for all users. Those with low vision or other disabilities should be able to navigate a UI without difficulty. For instance, many people use screen readers and other accessibility tools to browse the web or use applications.
Ensure that adaptability features are presented to the user immediately. The settings related to these functions should also be easy to find. For a comprehensive approach, consider gathering feedback from a wide range of users about your UI. This practice can help you assess the accessibility of a UI from various perspectives.
UI Design Tools
Having the right tools and technology to support your UI design efforts is crucial. In the table below, we’ve outlined five UI design tools and provided information on cost, features, and star ratings on G2, a website where users review and discover new software programs.
- Adobe XD
An Overview of the UI Design Process
This is the UI design process we follow at Dazzet.
Our UI designers step into the later stages of the product design process. Some of the key steps in the UI design process include:
1. Understand the Context
You can’t design the user interface for a product without knowing who will use it and what they will use it for. The UI designer will start by getting acquainted with the project to understand the target audience they are designing for and the purpose of the product.
2. Conduct Competitive Analysis
UI designers can conduct a competitive analysis to see what other brands operating in the same space are doing. This helps in understanding what users expect when interacting with certain products, enabling the design of interfaces that feel familiar and, therefore, are easier to use.
3. Design Screens and UI Elements
Of course, a substantial part of the UI design process focuses on the design itself. UI designers will create all the individual screens that make up the user journey and the different elements that appear on these screens. This includes designing icons and buttons, selecting or creating images, making decisions about colors and typography, and designing any animations and interactions.
4. Create Wireframes and Prototypes
Throughout the UI design process, UI designers will create wireframes and prototypes. In the early stages, low-fidelity wireframes can be used to outline the placement of different elements on the screen. As initial ideas progress to concrete design decisions, high-fidelity and clickable prototypes are used to model the final look and feel of the product. With high-fidelity prototypes, UI designers can communicate not only how the product’s UI should look but also how it should behave when the user interacts with it.
5. Handoff to Developers
Once the product’s UI has been finalized, developers take over to turn the UI designer’s prototypes into a real and functional product. It’s important to note that transitioning from high-fidelity prototypes to development may not always be straightforward, as developers and other stakeholders may provide feedback, requiring design iterations.
The user interface can always be optimized to enhance the experience it will provide to visitors.
This is why it’s important to analyze the behavior of a website’s interface, which can be done through A/B testing to optimize the accessibility of commands and buttons, and have an impact on SEO growth.
The better the interface, the longer the time visitors may spend on the page, reducing friction in the purchasing process or guiding visitors through the conversion funnel.
Juan Esteban Yepes