UI or User Interface is the first area where a user interacts, be it software, product, or application. Hence if the UI is not designed well or does not function properly, then you won’t be able to satisfy your users. And user dissatisfaction is not that anyone prefers for his or her company and business.
There are some key guidelines or fundamental UI design principles one needs to follow when designing the website for an online business related to any product, service, or application. It must be attractive, error-free, responsive, and seamless. The user experience must be smooth and without any hassles for accessing and navigating through the website.
In this article, we will discuss in detail the 10 fundamental UI design principles to check in any website design.
Simple and user-friendly UI design
Ensuring the design is simple and user-friendly is one of the crucial fundamental UI design principles. Think from the perspective of a customer.
What do they want from a UI? How can they be comfortable using a UI?
Your objectives must be to satisfy the needs and requirements of the customers. Too much ornamentation in the design may lead to unnecessary confusion for the users. Keeping it simple will help the users understand the URL as well as navigate smoothly to the different menus or access areas of the UI. Check the content, information, and menus, users prefer and are interested in. A recommendation is to bring them upfront so that users do not struggle to trace in the UI or go through multiple navigations. Such activities distract users and cause disappointments.
You have to remember for whom you are designing the UI, and how much practice the design is. You can be creative in your design approach, but that must not disturb the practical applicability of the UI to the users. All necessary elements that need to be included in the UI must be present, the rest optional aspects must be either pushed back or may be included in some compressed submenus.
Acquaintance with the user needs
Now the next question that comes to mind is, “How to understand the needs and requirements of users from a UI?”
Before launching a user interface for your website, business, or app, you can conduct free or paid surveys. This will help to gain insights into the user requirements. You can hence predict the design elements that need to fit in into the UI. Secondly, you can go for a beta launch of the user interface. Beta testing is one of the interesting fundamental UI design principles, adopted by many companies and individual entrepreneurs. Promote the beta version and encourage users to start trial runs and checks. Connect to collect feedback and comments. This will give you ample chances to rectify or modify the UI design, before formally and finally launching the website. Utilize social media platforms for this purpose.
Allow user to control the UI
The UI design must allow users to control their accesses, log in and log out whenever they desire to, and even manage the notifications generated from the UI like popups, emails, etc. Enabling user controls is one of the important fundamental UI design principles. Users must not feel overburdened with the UI. Provide them the flexibility to use the UI whenever they want to. Else they may refrain from using your website, which is not desirable.
The UI must not compel or force them to adopt certain actions or decisions that may not be satisfactory. In fact, users must be in control to decide, for example, whether to sign up or not, which menus to access or which events to register in, etc.
Design Consistency as per Industrial Standards and Best Practices
One of the vital fundamental UI design principles is consistency in the entire end-to-end design of the UI. It is good to check the best practices and industry standards for the industrial sector or domain to which the website or UI belongs to. Follow them consistently across the UI, thus avoiding confusion or distractions.
A suggestion is to check other platforms or websites and find out what are the standards being adopted or followed. Leverage them, instead of re-designing from the scratch. Once the basics are present and are consistent throughout the website, you can bring in your innovations but without jeopardizing the essence and simplicity of the UI. This is applicable to the information or content being shared, the menus and functions displayed in the UI and any call of action for the users.
Organize the UI elements appropriately
Appropriate organization of the UI elements in the page is one of the fundamental UI design principles. The tasks and sub-tasks must be grouped in such a way, that the users are able to understand the flow easily. Restrict the navigations to a minimum number of screens and steps. The information must be organized to ensure it is self-contained, logical, clear and concise, and autonomous. Modal windows and overlays such as bottom sheets can be leveraged to reduce the footprint of the app and condense the data or information.
The above steps will reduce the unnecessary complexity in the entire UI end-to-end design. Users must not be exposed to multiple clicks or multiple sequences of actions. One of the common and golden rules of fundamental UI design principles called the Three Click Rule specifies that the user must be able to reach the desired function or feature by clicking on a maximum of 3 steps or 3 clicks. And when we talk about the clicks, it can be anywhere within the app or the website. Besides, never force the users to re-enter similar information on multiple screens or pages. Furthermore, when users enter erroneous information, ensure the entire page doesn’t refresh asking for correct data. The error areas must be pointed out, and along with it, it is good to mention the type of error. Once the user corrects the data, you must allow saving or submitting the information seamlessly.
Simple and Logical Page Architecture
The page architecture must be logical, simple and the information must be clearly and concisely placed. Users must not face any difficulties, in terms of navigation and exploring the UI page. It should be smooth, seamless, and must be interesting and enticing. The menus, functions, data, and information must be clearly labeled with logical names and descriptions. This is one of the fundamental UI design principles.
Besides, users must be redirected to main menus and submenus seamlessly, without starting from the Home page or the Master menu. You must not keep the users thinking or confused as to how they can return back to the previous location. If needed introduce visual effects on the navigation tools.
Provision of controlling mistakes
Users may commit mistakes while entering any data or information or even during navigation. For data entry, enable the undo and redo option for the users to verify and modify the information recorded. The users must be assisted to backtrack the information entered or the navigation to prevent loss of data or wastage of time. Error messages must contain the actions that need to be undertaken by the users in the layman language terms. It is not advisable to display technical error codes as it may unnerve the users. They may conclude that the software, app, or website has started malfunctioning.
Such provisions will help users to access the app or webpage with confidence. Reliability, consistency, security, and stability are the most common expectations from users. If you can provide all these aspects in your UI interface, then you can rest assured users will be satisfied and happy in accessing your webpage or app.
UI Design Tools
Acknowledgment and feedback
Displaying messages of acknowledgment after the completion of user actions is one of the preferred fundamental UI design principles. For example, when a user signs up and submits the form; display a message acknowledging the submission stating a thank you note and that the registration is being processed. If they are submitting or uploading any documents to the website or app via the UI, acknowledge the acceptance of the documents. If the documents are subjected to verification and validation after upload, display the message accordingly.
Furthermore, the UI of websites or apps must have a feedback section. The feedback can be for a particular page or action or for the entire website. Encourage users to share the feedback and comments as they serve as an efficient weapon to re-look the UI design and improvise on it.
Additionally, displaying the intermediate and final statuses of any submission by the users in the UI is one of the crucial fundamental UI design principles. Users must not be in a dilemma or confused seeking the progress status. Providing timely and accurate updates must be your UI’s USP.
In a UI, there are certain functions where you want your users to be more focused than others. So to ensure those functions are prominent and visually appealing, think of innovative buttons or icons with visible colors. The users will be able to notice them and preferably click on them to execute the actions. Besides if you want certain functions to be accessed in a sequence, then you need to ensure there is clear navigation and highlights to those functions. This strategy is termed as prioritization of functions and is one of the vital and fundamental UI design principles.
How you want your users to behave depends on how you design the navigations and the guided actions. The more you assist your users in navigating through the UI based on your objectives, the more you can gain clicks, traffic, and business. Prioritizing functions must be done during the design phase of a UI. But in certain cases, you may need to re-think and re-validate once the prototype is complete and ready for validation.
Decide on the target audience before design finalization
People from different demographics, locations, cultures,s, and languages, may perceive an app or website in different ways. You may not be able to cater to all the needs in a single design of a UI. It is advisable to group the audience and target them as per their needs. People with similar language or cultural backgrounds can be grouped in one. In that way, you can design the UI, best suitable for each of the groups. You can either design the UI for a specific group or target audience. Or you may design separately for each group if you want to target them all. It all depends on the app or the website for which the UI is being designed.
You can check Pinterest for UI/UX ideas
The arrangement of menus and functions, alignment of contents or information, colors, look and feel of the UI, are perceived by people in various ways. It depends on the gender, culture, and region the person belongs to. You need to decide whether you want to target a certain section of the audience or a global audience. Depending on the target users, start thinking about the design. You may need to study and research the choices and preferences of your audience. Surveys and interviews are some of the best ways to gain insights and apply the same to your UI design.
The above-mentioned 10 fundamental UI design principles must be carefully read and adhered to. You can create a UI that is friendly, simple, easily accessible, with seamless navigation through each and every section of the UI. Users look for a smart front end, capable to cater to their requirements, and allow the rectification of errors in the entered information and data. It is highly recommended to think about what the users prefer, be it the content, navigation, or the aesthetic part. Only then you can fulfill the preferences of the users. On the other hand, if you want the users to follow a particular path of navigation and usage, the UI design must handle through interactive screens and forms.
To summarize, a good UI design paves the way for greater user satisfaction.