Designing a good User Interface (UI) is fundamental to ensuring not only user satisfaction, but also the success of a product - of course, this applies to software product development. At Codurance, when we work on developing a client's product, we try to optimise its UI so it offers a fluid, intuitive and attractive experience that makes their product stand out. But, how do we do this?
Our golden rule is to keep a balance between aesthetics and usability. A user interface must be attractive and pleasing to the eye, but its primary function is to be intuitive and comfortable for the user. Under no circumstances do we allow the balance to be tipped towards aesthetics without establishing a baseline of usability first.
We spend time carefully choosing the colour of the interface, the shape and font of its content and icons. We even go through the buttons and forms one by one and develop them from scratch when necessary. This way, the function and user-friendliness of the product's interface are our real priorities.
To help you meet all of the fundamental requirements of a great UI design, we have created an infographic guide with our general recommendations. If you'd like to download it, you can do so here.
9 tips to creating an outstanding User Interface
Once you have established a balance between aesthetics and usability, we recommend you follow these 9 tips that we consider to be essential when designing User Interfaces:
- Guarantee your interface's effectiveness using the right text alignment: Text alignment is a small but very significant part of the interface as it affects the way our brain scans the content on a screen. In order to make reading easier for your users, avoid using the central alignment for long texts (2-3 phrases long). Aligning text to the centre forces users to make additional eye movements to both sides of the content. This causes unnecessary eye fatigue and hinders concentration when reading. Using the right text alignment format is one of the clearest indicators of a professional digital product. If you want your product to be within this category, try to align long texts to the left. When designing the user interface for products developed in languages such as Arabic, Hebrew or Persian, use the right alignment instead.
- Table design: when designing tables, cards or dashboards, make sure you align the data and numbers to the right. At first glance, numbers are easier to compare when the corresponding information is aligned to the left.
- Justified text: although justified text works very well for print, on the web it can create weird spaces between words. To avoid these spaces, consider using hyphens or simply align the text to the left.
- Consistency: creating a consistent user interface design is vital for a website or an application. Make sure that all of the repeated elements have the same look and feel. This means using the same colours, fonts and placements everywhere.
- Font: do not use more than 2 different fonts on the same site. Such a discrepancy can be visually unpleasant even to non-designers. Be sure to select a single font so as not to create an inconsistent experience that translates into an unprofessional feel.
- Grids: they not only provide designers with a structure for their designs, but are also useful for improving readability and scannability for the final users. Use a good grid system that adapts easily to different screen sizes.
- Provide information every time an action is completed: for example, after a user fills out a form, display a success message or direct them to a thank you page. You can also automate error messages, such as a 404 page, that provide useful interactions for the user. It is also very important to use clear tags that indicate the meaning of each button, table and other interactive elements, and to include a two-step verification that asks users to confirm that they want to complete a given action.
- Design a responsive UI: if your website looks great on a desktop, but terrible on a mobile, you will be creating a poor experience for a significant percentage of your users.
- Use an appropriate contrast of colours: If you need help in this area, search online for a contrast test to check compliance with accessibility standards.
As these tips highlight, user interface design plays a critical role in creating successful digital products. As opposed to a bad UI that will only create a poor experience that will not meet the demanding expectations of users, a well-developed UI will result in a positive user experience, business differentiation and credibility.
Our goal at Codurance is to ensure the success of our clients' products, which is why in every project we strive to respect these fundamental aspects of UI design. We hope you find them useful and that they help you guarantee the success of your own products.
If you are interested in learning more about our practices and ways to create a user experience that delivers real value, we recommend our blog post on the principles and challenges of Lean UX.