What does UI mean in web design?

What does UI mean in web design?

UI stands for user interface and refers to the ways in which a person can interact with your website – from the links they can click, to the menu items they can hover on, through to the forms and different buttons they can interacted with. It is closely connected to the UX which stands for user experience of your website, which can be either a fantastic experience they would like to repeat, or one which they hope to forget.

There are plenty of ways a good UX and UI design can work together to improve a customer’s experience on your website and provide a good UX, which will hopefully help them to take the leap and become a paying customer.

Though there are plenty of in-depth resources and tools online covering the theory of User Interface design on the internet, for most businesses and here at Nutcracker, we think it all boils down to a few simple rules which if followed, your customers should have a better experience.

Top tips for good User Interface design

Simplicity

The best user interfaces are almost always the simplest, ones which are almost invisible to the user and do not require much thought to think about, they avoid unnecessary elements and communicate everything in simple to understand language, helping the user to feel confident and find their way around your website.

Consistency

A website design for consistency can also help make it simple for users. For example, elements should be similar on every page and make sure their look, feel and functionality are similar to each other e.g., if the majority of your ecommerce site has buttons in red but on your checkout page the buttons are suddenly purple, whilst in itself it might not detract a customer from buying with you it does make your layout more complicated to understand.

Likewise on a contact from if it collects a great deal of information, each field the user needs to fill in should resemble each other.

For example, we have seen websites where on certain page links the text was underlined in blue like this, other times it was underlined only when the mouse went over the link, and sometimes it was the other way round. This kind of inconsistency confuses users and makes it hard to use the site and ultimately convert.

Not only that, the type of language, labels and layouts used should be consistent throughout the site.

Purposeful

Everything on the page should be there for a reason, either to inform, navigate or direct people to the end goal – whether that is to buy something or contact you. Consider the spacing elements are given on the page and their positioning based on relative importance, which can draw users to the most important parts of the website and drive them through.

For example, breaking up large amounts of text with call to actions to allow the customer the chance to enquire or get in touch with you without having to look for a button.

The concept of above-the-fold and below-the-fold which dominates print marketing can help to organise the page, taking into consideration the user journey to make sure they stay on track towards the tasks you want them to complete.

Strategic use of typography, colour and textures

Though the usage of colours and fonts is more of a general web design objective as you want the website to look good, for a good user interface a consistent colour and font scheme should be used throughout. This allows attention to be directed towards or  away from items on the page accordingly.

Similarly, font sizes should create clarity and hierarchy in order to increase scanability, legibility and readability.

Communicate with your customer

When the user is interacting with your site, be sure to communicate things clearly and in a timely manner as this can be frustrating and cause friction for users. We have all been on websites with forms that neglect to tell us we have made a mistake until we try to send the form which can be frustrating as I now have to go back and check through my work, even more so if the page reloads and all my inputted data has gone so I have to do it all over again.

A good user interface takes these things into consideration and will communicate with the customers as they go which we have the technology to do e.g., if a customer has made a mistake on a form the site should tell them there and then what they need to do to correct it.

Test, Test, Test (and test again)

A User Interface should never be a set once and forgotten about but a case of continuous improvement and optimisation. One of the benefits of web design marketing over traditional marketing is we have the information to hand on how customers interact with websites so we should make use of this.

If there are any areas where the customer is struggling unexpectedly then we should look into problem solving e.g. maybe the button needs to be higher up the page? Or bigger? Perhaps it needs to be tested to make sure it actually does what it is meant to do? Maybe we need to look into the visual design of the page to see what needs to be changed to ensure the design works?

Not only that, as a business grows and develops, the goals and what they want out of their website and in turn the user interface (UI) design needs to change to reflect this. Not only that but as your website grows you will have more users, making user research more insightful and the changes you make more impactful in growing your business.

Here at Nutcracker Design and Marketing, we have many years of experience in web development, designing both new and working on existing websites in a variety of industries and sectors to optimise their user experience (UX) and increase conversion. If you would like to find out more about working with us, get in touch with us on 01384 455 141.