Best Practices for UI and UX Design

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Every designer has his or her own favored methods and techniques to create a functional UI/UX for a web app or a mobile interface. How do you know if your process is a robust one? The steps involved in creating a digital/product experience involves conducting research, ideation, prototyping, creating high fidelity mockups and presenting your findings to stakeholders and users. However, every project is unique and comes with its own challenges.

In this article, we will discuss some of the recurring problems and challenges that a designer is often met with when creating a UX/UI for an app. These learnings can be applied to enhance the overall design, functionality and the process in smaller projects.

1. Focus on the digital experience

People tend to remember how they feel more than the content itself. To keep them engaged, you would have to create an interface that can move the user to perform a certain action. This means that, as UX designers, you should be able to weave different elements in a design to create a cohesive and engaging layout that incorporates imagery, graphics, text layout, and other interactive elements.

2. Users like simplicity and clarity

To keep the users engaged and interested, it is useful to focus on one or a few different elements on the site. This means that today’s interfaces should have preferred actions as much as possible. By bringing their visual attention to one element or a few on the page, can help communicate your message better.

3. Establish design patterns for consistency

Consistency in UI design reduces the need for users to think. When they are familiar with your design pattern, they are able to think clearly and use the interface more effectively. To create effective interfaces, UI should be modified for the shorter task flow. Another useful tip is to establish a design hierarchy. When users are familiar with the order and priority of things, they naturally change the way they interact with them. You can also use colors to create the desired order. Some colors are more noticeable than others, apply them in a way that can help guide the user through different elements in your interface.

Different elements in your UI make up the building blocks of your design pattern. It is important to check them thoroughly to ensure a consistent experience. Here are a few elements that should be checked for consistency.

  • Branding elements – Remain consistent with color, Typography, logo, correct image styles, brand color schemes, etc. Brand consistency helps in making sure that the brand is represented the same way across multiple platforms and devices. Styles guides usually come in handy during this time and provide all the necessary information to create an effective branding visual.
  • Components – Components can refer to any element that makes up a UI pattern – Buttons, Cards, Forms, Lists, Panels and progress bars. Knowing how each component behaves within a UI pattern and outside it will help you prioritize the elements on your screen.
  • Templates- Templates help you standardize your site.
  • Pattern library and design system – A design system incorporates UI patterns whereas a UI pattern is limited and is not as robust as the design system. However, both of them are essential to maintaining a team-wide consistency.

4. Consistent actions in applications

Consistent actions eliminate the extra time the user spends discovering something. This, in turn, makes the task flow run more smoothly. When a user performs an action consistently, these actions eventually become second nature and he or she will be able to use the application without even thinking. It is important to ask yourself these three questions when designing an interface:

  • Do all parts of the interface behave the same way?
  • How do the interactions work?
  • How long does it take for the user to understand an interaction?

If you look at the example below, you will see that the buttons on the right side of the screen are consistent throughout the cards whereas the ‘view’ button to the left is placed at the bottom of the collection card. This breaks the user’s behavioral pattern and takes him longer to find the button.

5. Scrolling vs paging

Most of us looking for the fastest easiest route to get to the desired task or a page. Experts unanimously agree that scrolling is a lot better than paging because it is faster to scroll a page than wait for a page to load after you have clicked on the next page button. On an average website, refresh takes about 0.65 seconds. So the user would rather scroll down a page to read content than wait for a web page to load. (You might want to check out our parallax scrolling tutorials roundup).

6. Make your webpage scannable

Most people scan websites and don’t spend a lot of time reading the content. When the web content captures the users’ interest by using infographics or other interesting imagery, they tend to spend more time on the page. Making your interfaces scannable will help make it easier for audiences to read and understand the overall message of your brand.

7. Creative designs vs Common design patterns

Interfaces should be designed keeping the user’s behavior in mind. For example the navigation bar, links, and buttons should follow a standardized form. You don’t want your users to think too much about where the commonly placed elements are. Navigation links and buttons should be designed keeping the usability in mind. So functionality trumps design aesthetic for most commonly used elements. Once you have this place, you can get creative with other elements in the design.

This article was written to provide a list of tried and tested rules and techniques that will help improve your UX/UI design process. We encourage you to keep these tips in mind when you take on your next project!

Iggy is a designer who loves experimenting with new web design techniques, collating creative website designs, and writing about the latest design trends, inspiration, design freebies, and more. You can follow him on Twitter

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