An intuitive UI/UX experience is a bedrock for any software application. The best designed UIs encourage usability, while poorly designed ones create a barrier that users just cannot get past. As with all other skilled professionals, designers tend to use tried and tested principles to ensure they get the most efficient results. According to the design giant Adobe, the 4 golden principles for good UI design are:
- Place users in control of the interface
- Make it comfortable to interact with a product
- Reduce cognitive load
- Make user interfaces consistent
But before a designer embarks on this journey, it’s essential to execute some prerequisite processes that will help ensure the UI is truly exceptional, and their design services are worth the investment. This article takes a deeper look at these prerequisite processes that form a roadmap to the ideal UI/UX design for your specific product. The roadmap to designing a beautiful, intuitive user interface should consist of the following elements:
User Research & Analysis
Empathy is at the heart of design. Without the understanding of what others see, feel, and experience, design is a pointless task. —Tim Brown, CEO, IDEO
This quote perfectly sums up why User Research is an indispensable part of your design roadmap. Even though it is often treated as a good-to-have, and ignored, it essentially lays the foundation for every design decision.
To do effective research, designers need to put themselves in the user’s shoes – this gives designers a true feel of what users see, feel, and want – it is necessary for them to do user research as often as possible, and depending on their time and budget, as deep a dive as possible. As the famous saying goes, not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted – therefore a mix of qualitative & quantitative analysis would be the ideal way to go about things.
Having a design strategy in place ensures you don’t waste any precious time or resources on the misunderstandings that can crop up because a plan wasn’t laid out at the get-go. While formulating a design strategy, you are pre-defining every aspect of the UI/UX before initiating the designing – thereby giving the designers a clear direction in which to take every design decision.
While it is good to have a short, crisp strategy to roll out, it is also important to be flexible. It’s perfectly acceptable to tweak your strategy depending on the dynamic market condition.
Wireframe & Prototype
Wireframes are to websites or products that blueprints are to construction sites – they paint a clear picture that can be used as a reliable reference. Wireframes give everyone an idea of what goes where, and with the right interactions and additions, have the potential to turn into a dream house.
Prototypes are simulations of your finished product – they show you how your website or product will look, what it can do, and how your users might interact with it. They are extremely useful because they allow designers to see new ways in which a final cohesive design can be arrived at – it is usually at this phase that most designers come across their Eureka! moment.
As the name suggests, Interaction Design is nothing but the design of interactions that happen between a user and a product. The goal of ID is to ensure that a user’s objectives while using your solution are met as seamlessly as possible.
For instance, some of the questions Interaction Designers might ask are :
- What can a user do with their mouse, finger, or stylus to directly interact with the interface?
- What feedback does a user get once an action is performed?
- What about the appearance (color, shape, size, etc.) gives the user a clue about how it may function?
- Do error messages provide a way for the user to correct the problem or explain why the error occurred?
At this point in the journey, you are ready to begin design and development. Armed with the information you gathered up until this point of the journey, you can now design an interface that customers will enjoy engaging with. This is the point where you need to start thinking out-of-the-box and customize your design to suit your specific business needs.
Once you have arrived at what you believe is the perfect UI/UX design for your solution, there is one more crucial step to follow, that will ensure your UI is truly fool-proof.
User and Usability Testing
User and usability testing helps you determine if the assumptions you made about your solution are correct. During user testing, you get a representative set of users to use your prototype and see if those assumptions are correct.
Christopher Murphy, in his guide to User Testing, says it best – “Remember: Design is an iterative process. There are always improvements to be made, informed by your testing. In short: User testing should be happening at every point in the process as an integral part of an iterative design process.”
User and usability testing help you identify the maximum amount of feedback at the very beginning of your process before you invest too much money into the final build. It’s too late and will be too expensive, to leave your user testing for after the solution is built.
At Experion, we enjoy crafting intuitive user experiences. We work with enterprises, SMEs, and startups around the world to create web and mobile applications, across industries, using a wide range of tools. Above all, our design services are about creating amazing products that end-users will love.
Work with us to make the best version of your vision come to life. Drop a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org