Your website plays a critical role in establishing your brand as it is often the first thing your customer sees and interacts with. It is obvious that you would want your website to make a good and lasting first impression. But how would you achieve this?
In today’s post we would discuss about four different approaches to UI design commonly used by our front-end development experts and please note that they are not mutually exclusive:
There is no right way or a single standard way of creating a user interface. Moreover, if you want to create an amazing first impression on your audience that lasts longer than you must understand that there is no one size fits all solution.
Rather your approach has to be more iterative wherein collaboration is the key, continuous validation of ideas is norm and discovery phase is the way of getting started.
What is a discovery phase?
In discovery phase, instead of asking, “what do we want this design to achieve?”, you would need to ask “What does your customer want to do?”.
Please do not mistake that this approach under-represents the objectives of your business. It rather emphasizes the fact that focusing on customer needs would help you achieve long-term goals of your business.
By the way, how would you know the minds of your customers? The answer is, you can get to know what your customers want to achieve, via user research.
How does user research differ from market research?
You must be quite familiar with the traditional market research that has been done over the years which focuses on how to convince customers to buy by canvassing about their opinion.
User research, on the contrary, focuses on understanding the needs of your customers. Instead of focusing on marketing personas, focus groups, demographics, etc., you would need to channelize your attention towards empathy maps and customer journey mapping.
Now, empathy maps are not used to convince your audience rather it is used to meet with the needs of your customers.
Furthermore, throughout this process, you would learn to embrace change which is not only inevitable in design but desirable too. However, to embrace change you would need a prototype to test first.
Building a prototype
Prior to building a prototype, you can take an aesthetic approach to design (which will be discussed next).
In an iterative approach, the prototype is basically a fluid concept evolved from the feedbacks of users instead of being just a technical specification. This prototype is tested and iterated and thus more preciseness is introduced to the final product.
Often aesthetics are confused as visuals of the design, however, aesthetic design comprises of more elements than just visuals. Aesthetics is in fact in all our senses and aesthetic design is basically a 4D experience.
Have you ever assumed by seeing a good looking person that they might have other positive qualities apart from their looks? Well, this is due to the phenomenon called “the halo effect”. The same holds good for product design too.
Good looking products are often perceived as more valuable and feature-rich. Our web design experts at Helios are well aware of this phenomenon and hence tend to utilize technologies like Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) to shape immersive experiences.
Visual aesthetics, sound aesthetics, and material aesthetics are major categories of aesthetic design. In addition to that taste and smell also plays a pivotal role in helping you experience aesthetics deeply.
Why does aesthetic design matter?
Contemporary consumers expect usability by default and they look for products that are more than usable and functional. Aesthetically pleasing designs evoke positive emotions in users and are likely to win over customers swiftly. Besides, it makes people more loyal to the brand and makes them tolerant towards any usability issues.
Aesthetic design is all about influencing the mind of your customers, how they feel and think. After all, the early impression of your product does matter!
Minimalistic approach is all about using simplicity to highlight the meaningful in order to achieve elegance in design. This concept spans across various fields, however, here we are discussing it in the context of design.
This trend is widely used by web development services provider in the design of websites and mobile applications.
The following practices can help you understand the main points that you would need to consider in minimalism:
In modern digital products, flat design which involves the use of two-dimensional visual details in UI elements like images, buttons, icons and illustrations is widespread. This is because it not only looks neat in different resolutions and sizes but also enhances the visual harmony and usability of user interfaces.
Monochrome or limited color palettes
Colour holds great potential in the design of UIs as it is endowed with the capacity to establish emotional as well as informative links between your product and its users.
In minimalistic approach, web design experts often limit their colour palette to monochrome or minimal set of colours in order to avoid distracting users from core elements like content.
Choice of typography
Often expressive and bold typography are used to serve as a core visual element. Besides informing users about the content, it also enhances visual performance.
Eliminating unnecessary elements
In minimalistic approach designers are mainly focused on simplicity and functionality and thus avoiding overloading users’ attention with decorative elements. Thus, they help users focus on the core feature by guiding their attention and resolve their issues quickly without getting distracted.
Using negative space or whitespace
Whitespace or negative space is a critical element in minimalistic design as it allows the core features and important parts of a website to stand out by creating contrast and supporting legibility.
This is the most challenging part of minimalistic approach as UI designers want to show only the elements that are of highest importance and at the same time they need to ensure that users easily find what they are looking for.
Navigation in minimalistic approach is often the most criticized aspect, but if you keep UX in the centre of design then you will definitely land up with great UI.
The ultimate goal of your UI is to provide a means for users to communicate with the device, isn’t?
The technical approach to UI design is about how studying human-computer interaction (HCI) helps UI/UX development experts to create intuitive and better ways for your customers to interact with computers.
This discipline basically a merge of cognitive science that is how our mind works and engineering that is how the computer works. This purpose of establishing this new discipline was to empower users by understanding their mind (how they think) and needs (what they want).
HCI essentially enables the web design experts to find out the “why” beneath the “how” of the user interfaces they design.
Furthermore, designers can leverage HCI concepts such as GOMS (Goals, Operators, Methods, Selection Rules) to map the human interactions with a computer. This model enables designers to measure the usability of an application and also allows UI and UX optimization.
Moreover, you can also dive into how becoming a design thinking company can help you improve the bottom line of your company.
In this digital age, a better app is the one that is appealing, easy to use and effective at the same time. In other words, it should strike a perfect balance between aesthetics and usability.
Which design approach best aligns with your web development project needs? Please let us know by leaving your comments below. How about initiating a conversation?