A brief definition of User Interface design
Whilst everybody may have slight variations on their take of UI design, we wanted to write an article today to help give any beginner a brief introduction into what User Interface Design is and the design considerations it includes. So, what does it actually relate to? User Interface design, in very simple terms, refers to creating a user-friendly and ultimately very aesthetically pleasing experience of a digital interface.
This encompasses anything on a digital product that contributes to the overall look and feel so applies to things like icons, page layout, buttons, colour schemes and typography. User Interface design focuses on aspects like spacing between elements on a website to improve the readability of content. In its most basic format, User Interface design defines the process of creating beautiful and practical aesthetics for your digital product that make it easier for customers to use your product or service. For example at Design Cloud we put a lot of thought into creating a colour scheme that isn’t visually jarring and using buttons as well as a layout that is strategically placed to ensure our content is as easily navigated and understood as possible.
What’s the difference between UI and UX design?
Whilst there is only a letter difference between UI and UX design, there are many differences between the two methods.
UX stands for User Experience and relates to how people literally experience your product. A UX designer isn’t responsible for defining how a product or service should be used, but rather to enhance the way that consumers are already interacting with that digital or physical product. UI design can often be described as how something looks, whereas UX as how it feels to use that product. For example, a SaaS marketing tool could look slick and modern but actually be hard to navigate and understand when it comes to having downloaded it. That would be great UI design, but not so great UX.
A UX designer will be the one conducting research into user cases and the journey a customer will take on a site to ensure the smoothest possible use of your product or service, focusing on designing an experience with the user at the centre of design!
Icons and Buttons
A talented User Interface designer will spend time strategising the most effective use of icons and buttons to create the most understandable interface possible.
If you’re looking for some straightforward ways to make your website design more user friendly, make sure that your buttons are a contrasting shade to the background as well as choosing a shape that is easily recognised by any user as a button. According to UX planet, users “use previous experience and visual signifiers to clarify the meaning of the UI object”, so it’s important to use popular button shapes to make them more recognisable and therefore more easily understood by your audience. This is a tip that is important to take throughout all of your design on a site. By using shapes that are commonly used on other sites (like a heart for a wishlist!) you can let the user know what you want them to do by using familiar visual signifiers, meaning that your site will look cleaner and easier to read.
Typography describes the way letters are arranged so that they are both readable and pleasing to look at. Selecting and editing the typography used on a digital platform would be the job of a UI designer. Not only will they look at which type reflects your brand the best, but they will consider the spacing between lines of copy as well as the size of fonts so that they are readable whether your site is viewed on mobile or desktop!
Colour Palettes and Layout
In the past we’ve discussed colour theory and how it plays a big part in any design, be it social media all the way to a professional website design. Different colours are associated with different emotions and actions, and so a designer will use carefully curated colour palettes in order to create the best look and feel for a site possible. For example, a designer will ensure that actionable design elements like ‘add to cart’ buttons or ‘view more’ CTA’s using contrasting shades still work well against the background. For the most impactful design, they will always make sure to use white space (or negative space) around design elements so that the eye can flow easily around a page without any element being crowded and losing it’s desired effect.
Need more help?
If you’re looking to instantly improve the user interface design of your digital product, why not work with the Design Cloud team? Each member of our internal design team can help you with UI design and has been in the commercial design industry for a minimum of 3 years, meaning they are well-equipped to help you achieve beautiful design that helps you convert even more of your audience.