Best UX/UI Practices
User experience and user interface designs are both crucial to website success. Here we take a look at what they are and some of the best practices for implementation.
Every element of your website will contribute to the user experience (UX) that visitors have with your brand and the fact is, you don’t need to be a web design expert to recognise bad UX design.
From slow scrolling to annoying pop-ups and buttons that don’t do anything once clicked, there are various features that contribute to a poor user experience.
The overall user experience will often determine if a user sticks around on your website, converts and returns or if they bounce off and never look back.
With the need to offer an amazing customer journey and experience top of the list for many of our clients when building their website, the KIJO team are experts at creating UX and UI (user interface) designs that provide relevant and meaningful experiences for users.
So, let’s explore everything there is to know about the best UX and UI web design practices…
What is UX Design?
User experience (UX) design is the process of building a product that is easy for people to use.
UX design provides users with an enjoyable experience that evokes positive emotions and feedback. This overall experience will then encourage customer conversion, retention and loyalty.
By focusing on creating an end product that provides value and is useful to the user, UX design enhances the overall experience that customers have when interacting with your brand.
UX design puts the user at the front of everything, ensuring their needs are met at every step of the journey.
What is UI Design?
A user interface (UI) is the space where interactions between humans and computers occur.
UI design is the process that designers use when creating interfaces for software or computer products that focus on appearance and style. The main priority for a UI designer is creating something that looks good.
User interfaces are the access points that users interact with designs. UI designs therefore aim to create easy to use and positive experiences.
UI designs usually come in three main formats:
- Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) – users interact with visual representations e.g. a computer desktop
- Voice-Controlled Interfaces (VUI) – users interact with these via voice such as smart speakers. The Amazon Alexa is a famous example of a VUI.
- Gesture-Based Interfaces – Users engage with the interface using movements e.g. virtual reality headsets.
For websites we focus on GUI and a good UI web design prioritises the users visual experience over anything else. It’s all about ensuring the webpage looks great.
The Difference Between UI and UX
UX and UI are both terms that are often thrown around in web design circles and used interchangeably. They are however, two different things and have two different key focuses.
UI refers to the visual elements that you interact with when using a website or app such as buttons, toggles and icons whilst UX focuses on the entire interaction you have with a product, including how it makes you feel and how easy it is to use.
Whilst the two may be different, a good website needs both a UI focused design and a UX focused design to succeed.
For example, you could design a website that looks amazing and has intuitive navigation (UI) but if it’s slow to load and the buttons don’t work (UX) then nobody is going to want to visit it.
This works in the opposite way too. You could build a website that is practical, functional and easy to use (UX) but if it looks dated, plain or old fashioned (UI) then you’re less likely to attract and convert visitors.
The Principles of UI/UX Design
As we’ve just mentioned, UX and UI design can work together to create an effective, engaging and valuable digital design experience.
Some of the key principles of a UI/UX design that can, and should, be adopted into modern web designs include:
It can be easy to think your website needs to be all singing, all dancing and include every new feature or technological whizz out there. The reality is quite different.
Human brains love white space. It gives people the chance to absorb information without distraction and a bit of space on a website is no bad thing.
Simplicity is a key UX design principle. A simple website is easy to navigate and use and often provides an enjoyable user experience without being overwhelming.
It’s important to balance the UI design and ensuring everything looks good with a functional website that users can easily navigate and understand.
The very best web designs are ones that are consistent throughout.
As a user scrolls down your homepage or moves from page to page, the design should stay consistent. Colours, fonts, layouts and photograph style should all stay the same throughout your whole site.
Consistency is a key part of creating a UI design. When creating a product that you want to look good, it can be tempting to experiment with different styles and vibes but this will detract from your overall messaging.
A consistent design helps to build your online brand and encourages a more engaging and enjoyable experience for users.
With every passing year, mobile internet users continue to overtake traditional desktop web browsers.
More people than ever before are using a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet, to browse the internet.
As mobile traffic rises, it’s crucial that the design of your website is mobile-friendly and accessible for all types of mobile devices.
Both UI design and UX design must prioritise being responsive and ensuring that a user gets the same experience and visual standard on a mobile that they would get on a desktop.
From a UI design perspective a responsive web design ensures mobile visitors are getting the very best experience on your website. They should be able to easily navigate through different pages and not be inundated with annoying pop-ups or hard to read text.
Similarly for UI designs, ensuring a website is responsive ensures it looks good on any size screen. Wrongly sized images or fonts that fill the screen are all off-putting to users and certainly not aesthetically pleasing.
A responsive website looks good and provides an exceptional level of browsing experience for mobile users.
Both UI and UX designs have clear purposes that we’ve already covered, but not every part of your web design should be chosen because it either looks good or is practical.
Your website is a way of showcasing your brand, your products or services and your ethos to your audience.
Sometimes elements of your website need to be chosen with this in mind too.
For example, the colours of your website should be your brand colours that feature across other touchpoints, not just the colours that your web designer thinks look the best.
Having intent behind every design decision you make ensures your UX and UI designs align with your wider brand communications, guidelines and goals.
As you can see, integrating UX and UI design into your website is essential.
The very best websites include a balance of aesthetics and functionality. With so much online noise, it’s no longer enough to just have one. You need a website that looks good whilst providing an exceptional user experience.
When it comes to user experience design and user interface design, the key is to create an end product that’s consistent, responsive, simple and intentional.
Luckily for you, the KIJO team features an array of experienced and disciplined UX and UI web designers who can work together with you to create a good-looking website that works.
Posted on by Jordan Thompson