Designing a website is more than just placing buttons, pages, posts, and other elements a website would have. Designing website is also all about how will it interact with its potential users – above all, how will it help users to reach their goals.
This is primarily the task of UI (user interface) design – it’s all about creating and designing interfaces that communicates well with its users and helping them to reach whatever goal they have for the website.
A good UI designer thinks about not only how to place the design elements properly, but he or she also considers how the website would interact with the user, and vice versa – how the user will perceive and interact with the design. Yes, even users can sense a good and bad UI design! They may not think in terms of UI design per se, but whenever they have a hard time finding a button or navigating the entire website, they will not want to use that website again.
That being said, if you are struggling with your design and need some tips on how to improve, just read and keep these 6 simple tips in mind the next time you work on your website (or any platform for that matter).
6 Simple Tips to Improve Your Website’s UI Design
1) Make it simple
Simplicity is perhaps the golden rule in UI design. While some may think that a complex design makes for an interesting design, in reality, many people prefer to use simple design. This is because simple design simply makes navigation and the overall experience of the website much easier and convenient.
2) Set a plan before designing
Before you proceed in working on your design, be sure that you have a general plan for your website. For instance, consider how your design would lead users from point A to point B. Once you have a general or overall plan for your design, it’s quite easier to work on the details.
But even with the details, you should consider what elements would you use and how you would use them throughout your interface. For instance, when selecting multiple items, you may opt for the classic mark/select items or you could opt for a drag-and-drop approach. In some cases, you can offer both.
Overall, your elements should make sense with your overall design. For instance, fancy elements may suit one design, but in other occasions, simple elements would work much better.
3) Easy navigation
Your website should be easily navigated by its users. After all, they didn’t Google for a maze challenge, so don’t turn your website into one!
One of the common mistakes some designers do is to make their navigation a little bit “fancier”. Perhaps, they believe that a complex navigation meant that the website is more fancy or professional. However, that’s simply not true. If your users cannot easily find the “About Us” page, then it’s time to edit your website’s navigation design.
Make the basic pages easily findable for users – the “About” page, contact page, FAQ, and of course, the main content/pages of the website. Even the menu should be navigated easily.
Overall, there’s no need for a fancy design. Your users will way more appreciate a clear and convenient navigation settings over a fancy and maze-like one!
4) Clear and effective communication
Your interface should communicate what it expects and requires from its users. It should also communicate how it responds to user’s input. For instance, consider a wrong password – the fill-up form would let the user know that he or she typed a wrong password. It may sound common sense, but if you removed that feature, users could be confused as to why they cannot log in to their account.
But communication goes beyond words. Other elements such as colors and animations can be used as a form to communicate your message. For instance, some fill-up forms glow a red mark on a missed field in case the user forgot to put his input there.
5) Be quick to receive feedback
Once your design is up and running, anticipate feedback from your users. Notice if they experience any difficulty when navigating your interface. In the process, you may also see mistakes that needs to be immediately fixed.
Be quick to receive feedbacks – from your users, clients, co-designers, etc. – and be ready to fix or implement any changes needed.
6) Bring your twist, but don’t reinvent the wheel
The last but not the least, do not reinvent the wheel. Some designers love to reinvent the wheel to try out new things or to put their own twist to the design. And that’s actually good!
However, some parts or elements of the design are best left as they are standardly used. This is because users are more familiar with the standard design. For instance, consider ions: wherever you look, the WiFi icon is almost always the same. If you try to change the classic WiFi icon into something else, your users will have a very hard time finding it. And when they finally do, they’ll think to themselves, “Oh, this is the WiFi icon? Why it’s so different?!”
So, feel free to bring your own twist to the design, but do not reinvent the wheel.