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Interface Design: 7 Principles

To make a successful Interface Design, it is essential to think about some strategic points. Find out in this article what they are!

Interface Design: 7 Principles

Interface Design is the practice responsible for planning, developing and implementing a solution whose objective is to facilitate the user's experience and encourage their interaction with a physical or digital object.

A poorly designed interface can generate a lot of doubts in the user and therefore, it is essential to think about some points to ensure that he uses all actions and tasks in a simple and efficient way. Read on and discover 7 principles experts gave to successful Interface Design!

 

#1 Trust the needs of real users, not your own speculations

The design might look brilliant to you, but it doesn't make sense if you're not the target audience for the product.

The very notion of  Design UX, or User Experience Design, suggests that the designer's work is centered around the user's experience with a product. Therefore, you need to find out if this product is suitable for the target audience.

With the help of UX testing, you will be able to determine if everything is clear to users in the product, if there are difficulties and why they arise. Researchers assign tasks to respondents, asking questions and carefully observing their actions.

 

#2 Explain what is happening to users

Ideally, users know exactly what their actions lead to and what they can expect. A good example of this is that they must make sure that their personal data will not be lost or shared. Jacob Nielsen argues that the more predictable you work with the service, the more you trust it and the more pleasant the user experience will be.

And Bruce Tognazzini adds: “It's good that users don't need to research or guess the state of the system. They just need to look at the interface and automatically understand what's going on there.”

 

#3 Make the product interface look analog

The more familiar the product interface is to users, the sooner they will start using the service. They won't have to study hard for this, because not everyone is willing to spend a lot of time. Ben Shneiderman and Jacob Nielsen are convinced that the ease of launch and the consistency of the interface improve the user experience.

An example of this is the floating button which is used a lot. You can find it on Twitter apps, Google Docs, landing pages and many other places. Users immediately understand how to work with it.

Furthermore, Bruce Tognazzini adds: "Fashion and beauty should not trump usability."

 

#4 Prevent mistakes

In the book “User Interface Design” Vlad Golovach says that most error messages are not really error messages. In fact, they show the user that the system they are using:

  • Not flexible enough to adapt to your actions;
  • Not smart enough to show him your possible action limits;
  • Believes that the user can and should be pressed.

So all the leading usability experts agree that it's better not only to show good error notifications, but to avoid them. A good tip is to set correct action limits and patterns.

In addition, you should ideally find places in the interface where the user can carelessly do something wrong. For example, to make him place his finger on the “save” button, move the “delete” or “exit without saving” button away from him.

Don't force users to remember actions, provide the information they need at each stage and the ability to quickly undo actions. If the error cannot be avoided, write a clear message about it. Jakob Nielsen, renowned usability expert, recommends:

Say what went wrong in your audience's language. Avoid using technical terms;
Suggest a solution that may fix the error immediately or help in some way.

 

#5 Reduce information overload

Jacob Nielsen believes the benefit is not to show as much information as possible, but to show what is needed at the right time. Therefore, the ideal is to reduce the cognitive load: we distribute the information in “portions” and put them in order.

Remember that each additional information in the interface competes with other information. This means that it reduces your visibility, increases noise and worsens the perception of the page as a whole.

This does not mean that there is an urgent need to reduce the amount of information on landing pages and mobile app screens. Just identify the user's basic needs (pains) and focus on them. All the rest – just let it hang, prove the main theses and open it to the user sequentially.

 

#6 Design for Inclusion

Ben Shneiderman and Jakob Nielsen claim:“Think about the physical needs and limitations of the target audience and create a design that takes everything into account. Don't forget about the differences between beginners and experts – add explanatory tool tips for the former and complex functions, keyboard shortcuts for the latter. Consider age, disability, cultural differences of users and types of gadgets.”

Use contrasting colors for text in your layout. This helps users who are visually impaired (as well as in low-light conditions) to read screen content more easily. An example of a tool that already applies this is Slack.

 

#7 Give the user a sense of control

When people find it easy to abandon a process or undo an action, they feel free and confident. The cancel button allows you to maintain control of the system and avoid fear and frustration.

Vlad Golovach writes in his book “User Interface Design”:

Almost all the time, the user can screw something up and he knows it. It can format the hard drive, it can erase or spoil the desired file. Unsurprisingly, the user is often scared. Users should have the feeling that nothing can happen until the user wants to.

Hey, did you like the tips? Are there any other UI Design principles you would include in this article? Leave your comment below! We'll love to know.

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