UX and UI design is arguably the most important part of creating a new product. Having a poorly designed website or app is a surefire way to lose customers that have been conditioned to expect a certain standard from the tools they use online. Creating a successful product means creating something people are willing to use, so considering UX and UI when designing a product is imperative to its success. By gaining an understanding of what UX and UI are, how UX/UI are important to customers, what benefits there are to good UX/UI design, and how to create good UX and UI, you will be more capable of developing products that users will appreciate and are therefore more likely to use.
What are UX and UI?
UI, or user interface, is the more straightforward of the pair. Anything that the user directly interacts with, such as buttons, links, or search bars, is part of the UI. A successful UI provides a seamless interface that allows the user to easily navigate the product, whether that be shopping on a website or browsing a social media app. Creating an easy-to-use UI may seem like a simple task, but in reality, without a deep understanding of what the UX needs to be, it is very difficult to build a UI that users will feel comfortable using.
UX, or user experience, is slightly more complicated than UI. For one thing, it encompasses a much broader scope than UI does. UX involves any interaction the user has with the product, not just the buttons they click while interacting. It involves the full scope of their experience with the product, including their ability to use it, the product’s accessibility, the performance of the product, and its design and aesthetic. All these interactions lead the user to feel an emotion, either positive or negative, toward the product. The goal of any UX design should be to create a product that instills positive emotions in the user in every way possible, thus forming a connection between the user and the product. This connection leads the user to continue using it, making it a successful product.
Users have big expectations when it comes to UX. They have been conditioned to expect a seemingly flawless UX due to the sheer number of good websites and apps available. Users expect to be able to do more using your product than they would have accomplished on their own in the same amount of time, and if those expectations aren’t met, they are liable to turn to a different source to complete their task. In short, people on the internet expects online tools to be quick, easy to use, and effective. However, the expectations of the user and the expectations of the UX designers can be quite different. UX teams need to be wary of the pitfall of thinking they know what the user wants without ever actually engaging with those potential users.
Talking with and listening to users is absolutely essential when it comes to creating a good UX. Whenever possible, try to get a first hand look at how users are navigating the product when left on their own. Record the user’s journey through the product in order to better understand where the sticking points are and what they like and don’t like about the overall experience. User testing, when performed early and often, will save both time and money as product development progresses and will make the entire process easier.
Benefits of UX and UI
There are many benefits associated with having a good UX and UI design. Below are listed just a few of the reasons that UX and UI should be an integral part of any product design process:
- SEO: Search engines like Google have indicated that they factor UX and UI into their search engine optimization processes. The better the UX and UI is, the higher a website or app ranks.
- Increased Sales: Having good UX and UI means that users are much more likely to stay on the website, app, or software. When users spend more time on those platforms, it means that there is a much higher chance that they will purchase something, and thus increase sales.
- Decreased Cost and Time: Spending time on UX and UI during product design means that once the product is under development there are less retroactive fixes that need to be made. This saves the time and money of the development team who otherwise would need to make those fixes.
- Good First Impression: Within the first few seconds of being on an online tool, the user has already decided if they like it. This first impression is critical, because if they don’t like the product, they will leave and pursue alternate routes of achieving their goals. Good UX and UI will influence that decision.
- Loyal Customers: Building good UX and UI will make the entire experience on a website, app, or software appealing to the user. Because they like the product, the user will continue to use it and recommend it to their social groups.
Suggestions for Good UX and UI
It may seem daunting to create UX and UI that users will enjoy interacting with. However, by keeping in mind the following suggestions, building an effective UX and UI will become simpler than ever before.
- Be open to change. Don’t get so set on an idea for UX and UI that a better method is ignored in favor of sticking with the original plan. It’s much easier in the long run to change a design than to be stubborn and pay for an expensive change once the product hits development.
- Don’t overcomplicate it. Users typically only prioritize one or two aspects of a product, based on how they want to use it. Make sure those aspects are polished, but don’t get so caught up in making everything special that it gets confusing for the users.
- Don’t sacrifice speed. The value of speed in a product can’t be overstated. If the online tool is slow or lagging, users will get frustrated and leave. Find ways to build the product that maintain speed while providing the users what they want.
- Keep it familiar. Users are already used to various layouts from their time on the internet. Keep the product intuitive to use and uniform across the platform so that users don’t get confused when trying to use the product.
- Make it interactive. The more the user is able to interact with the product, the more they will connect with it. Creating an interactive product that still follows the guidelines will engage the user and keep them using the product.
Building an effective, UX and UI based product, whether it be a website, app, or software, is the key to success. Customers want it, it provides benefits that are hard to get elsewhere, and through implementing a few suggestions it is relatively painless to achieve.