I’ve got a question! How would you as users of mobile applications, websites, or online stores define your user experience? Would you say that your experience was pleasant? Would you say you enjoyed using that particular app? Was there a ridiculous feature that you have to put up with whenever you access a certain website? How much value do you put in aesthetics over function? What would you prefer?
While not many developers realize this, the visual aesthetics of your product play a large role in determining whether your customer will come back to you or not. Their user experience determines whether they will recommend your application or your website to others. And how will you define a superb user experience? For that, you’ll need an intuitive user interface (UI). A UI that balances aesthetics and function of your application or website will prove fruitful in the long run.
So today, we’ll be going through 8 different ways you can make your user interface attractive and appealing to your target audience.
Adopt the Minimalistic Approach!
There is this philosophy in modern design. Used everywhere, in architecture, interior design, and even user interfaces. Less is more! That is certainly true for everything else but how does this simple guideline translate to user interfaces? It’s simple. You avoid cluttering your user interfaces with too many options. Your user must not be overwhelmed by the extreme amount of options and clutter they are bombarded with whenever they boot up your app. The trick is to offer all the options but hide them or combine them within drop down menus or sub pages. That gives you more space on the home page for attractive imagery that exhibits your product or service. This is especially helpful when you run an online ecommerce store. You can use that space to advertise offers, sales, or promotions.
Take a look at this webpage for example. Daraz is Pakistan’s largest ecommerce store, like Amazon. Their front page shows you the list of categories of products available so you can go right ahead to what you want. There is a large banner space allocated to this advertisement promoting the use of certain bank cards for discount. There isn’t a lot of clutter and it is functional as well.
Use Icons to Become Iconic!
The internet has seen widespread usage for quite some time. Certain symbols have become the norm of certain actions. Like the downward arrow is known by all to be the symbol for downloading stuff. If an image has a sideways triangle on it, you can bet 100% of the users will know that it is an embedded media player. A magnifying glass means a search option. It is the little stuff like this that people have come to expect from apps and websites and actively search for these options whenever they want to perform certain actions. These icons have become iconic, and to incorporate these icons in your UI helps you use less space to accomplish their respective functions as well. You do not clutter your interface with large call-to-actions and offer full functionality along with the minimalistic aesthetic.
These icons have become so common that people instinctively know which icon accomplishes which function. The three bars represent multiple options available in a drop-down menu. The x icon means to close. The empty circles in a line show the number of pictures in a slide show. It is the little stuff like this that you must use in your user interface if you want your users to enjoy a good user experience. But your icons must be distinctive otherwise people may end up getting confused. More recently, Google revamped their icon designs to match the company theme and aesthetic. Certainly, all of the logos do match the Google theme but now they lost their distinctive features.
This picture sums up the absolute atrocity of poor logo design. Where aesthetics were preferred in place of function. The previous logos were individualistic and different from each other. Functional, and Good-Looking!
Similarly, in a 3D User Interface, where GPS tracking and geographical location is being used, we all have come to expect the blue dot to signify our location on the map. These icons are so commonly used that to deviate from it to stand out would only become your downfall.
Follow the Standard!
Definitely, after quite some time, an unspoken set of rules have been identified in user interfaces of all websites and applications. People subconsciously expect their UI to be laid out and categorized in the same ways. Most UI have their toolbars strategically placed at the top of the screen and aligned to the left side of the screen. Whereas, all window options of minimizing, and closing are at the top right corner of the interface. Any attempts to mix these things up by making up your own layout would give your users a poor experience.
Similarly, greyed out texts means that that option is not available and you must enable certain features or accomplish different actions to access them. That sort of intuity is what is expected from an attractive user interface.
Set Your Theme and Colors!
People underestimate how colors can tease out actions from those who see it. These colors can invoke impulse, or yearning for things. An attractive user interface takes advantage of this fact by cleverly deploying these colors in front of their users as a call to action.
There is a scientific and psychological aspect to the impact of color. It is for this same reason that warning signs are red and yellow because these loud colors have the longest wavelength and are the first ones to hit your eye. That’s why people can identify warning signs far away from discernible distances. The colors Safety Yellow and black now evoke a sense of danger and unsettlement. But that same combination of a softer yellow hue paired with black can become a catchy UI.
The Middle East’s Noon Ecommerce Store is a prime example of how using a softer version of bright yellow color can make your UI attractive and eye-catching.
On the other hand, many websites and applications of companies relating to finance and economy use Blue in their user interfaces. Blue is a color that gives off a trusting and calming vibe. That’s why many financial consultants, banks, and brokerage companies use this color as part of their theme so that people can trust them with their money.
Like this image from the homepage of a cryptocurrency advisory company website that uses the color blue in tandem with the circuit like web to show technology and economy as a way to represent what they do and attract people towards their company is a prime example of good UI design. That’s why people should be careful in choosing their user interface colors and decide on a cool and evocative theme.
Symmetry Works Wonders!
There is a time when one should use symmetry in user interfaces and there are times when one needs asymmetry to drive home a certain point. When offering people multiple options, your user interface must lay each of these options in a neat, symmetrical pattern so that users do not face difficulty in differentiating between them. But you do not want the same pattern repeating endlessly throughout your website or application interface. People need a few curve balls to keep their experience interesting. More often than not, websites keep repeating the same pattern but fill it out with different content. This does not bode well for the user experience because regularity and uniformity means your user can get bored pretty quickly. If certain design irregularities are not used to emphasize or highlight specific features, your User Interface will not be attractive.
This image from Muzli Design, perfectly displays the difference non-conformity to a set pattern can make. Changing up the pattern every now and then keeps the user fresh.
Consistency is Key!
Like always, maintaining consistency throughout your interface and content layout results in a satisfied user experience. Sticking to using different font sizes to classify headings, titles, and texts or pages, and subpages helps the user gain a feel for how the content is organized and how the interface helps you access them. Maintaining consistency of typography is one of the ways your UI can prove to be effective in delivering a good user experience. The trick is to strike a balance between a set pattern but throw up a few irregular elements in it to keep the user on their toes.
Readability above All!
Obviously all user interfaces must be readable above all else. You cannot heavily rely on visuals in your user interface. Your visuals must be accompanied by appropriately placed text so that even a Layman who can read can understand what to do and how he can access certain features. Reading tips must be situated here and there to help the users who feel lost on your application and website.
The Third Dimension: 3D User Interface!
First off, a 3D user interface means that within the two dimensional UI there is another aspect thrown in there. The location!
GPS tracking and navigation maps are an example of 3D User Interface which show real-time location of the user. When designing a 3D UI, you are going to have to account for orientation, and direction so that users can navigate safely at the right place at the right time.
Following all these steps should give you a pretty attractive user interface that would result in a satisfactory user experience. For more on UI Design, click here to learn more.