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the essentials of ui and ux design

Website UI/UX Design Essentials

There was a time when users were trying to understand how websites work. They had to put so much time and effort into finding the information or action they wanted from a website. As the number of websites increased, users put less time into finding what they need where they are looking. They leave it for a better, more user-friendly website. The importance of UI and UX design was rising as the competition on attracting users to websites.

UI design (user interface design) draws together concepts from visual design, information architecture, and interaction design to ensure a maximum friendly user experience.

UX or user experience designers, on the other hand, act as the advocates of website users. They crave a useful, easy, and enjoyable experience of users throughout their visit sessions.

In the following article, you will read the essentials of a great website UI and UX design. First, we focus on different UI elements and UX facets. Then, we move forward with some guidelines and rules of thumb in UI and UX for a user-centered web design.

User Interface Elements

When users visit a website, no matter what their purpose of the visit is, they will have some expectations from different interface elements of it. They do not want any surprises in this regard. So, stay consistent with their expectations from your UI element choices and layout. It will increase the efficiency of your website, along with their satisfaction.

Let’s look deeper into the website UI elements. The main categories of UI elements include but not limited to:

  • Input Controls
  • Navigation Components
  • Informational Components
  • Containers

Input Controls

These are the elements through which users can enter input into your system, for your various sales, marketing, or research purposes. For example, the element you use to let the user tell you his or her email address is of input control type.

Checkboxes

Using checkboxes users can pick one or more of the set’s choices. Typically, checkboxes are used in vertical lists of items. When the list of choices is long, having more than one column is reasonable.

Radio buttons

Radio buttons are usually round shaped buttons for mutually exclusive choices. Unlike checkboxes, radio buttons are used when you need only one answer from users.

Dropdown lists

With dropdown lists, users are capable of choosing one item at a time, which is similar to radio buttons. But they will also have more space and choices. You can add a text like “Select One” to guide the user into the required action.

List boxes

List boxes are similar to checkboxes in that they allow users to pick more than one choice, though are usually used when the list of choices is long and you need to save space.

Buttons

Buttons are usually labeled with text on it, which shows what can be expected after clicking or touching on it.

Dropdown button

These are elements that combine different attributes of other elements. When clicking on a dropdown button, the drop-down appears and the user can choose the action.

Toggles

A toggle button enables a setting between two states to be changed by the user. It is typically used when the two modes are visually distinct. For example, on/off or activate/deactivate modes.

Text fields

Users can type inside text fields. You can specify if you want a single line input or multiple lines.

Date and time pickers

In date and time pickers, a range of time and dates appears after clicking on the picker. Users can select one date or time, and a specific date/time format will be attributed to the answer.

Navigation Components

These are the ones that help users navigate through different parts of your website or app. Tab bars on iOS and hamburger menu on Android apps are examples of this kind of UI element.

Search field

Search fields enable users to enter input (query) and submit it to get search results from the index of your website. Usually, a search icon or button appears right next to a small single-line text box, where users type their keyword or phrase.

Breadcrumb

By providing a clickable trail of hierarchical pages leading to the current page, breadcrumbs help users to locate their position within the system and navigate through the different preceding pages.

Pagination

Pagination separates content between pages and helps users to jump between pages or go through the content in sequence.

Tags

Tags are used to categorize content by the user. Some websites use tagging systems that users are enabled to enter and apply their tags to content.

Sliders

A slider or a track bar enables a value to be defined or manipulated by users. Users can select a value from a range. Brightness, volume, and price range are familiar examples of this UI element.

Steppers

Steppers are similar to sliders, but a value can only be altered in predefined increments.

Icons

Icons are visual elements that can provide information or trigger action. These UI elements are usually hyperlinked.

Image carousel

Image carousels enable users to search a range of objects and pick one if they want. The photos are usually hyperlinked.

Informational Components

These are the elements that aim to communicate information to users.

Notifications

Notifications are used to inform users of something new that needs their attention. Usually, they announce the completion of a task, an error, or a warning.

Progress bars

A progress bar is a bar that locates the user stage in progress as they advance through it and is not usually clickable.

Loaders

Loaders are waiting for signs in UI elements that show users action is being completed in the background.

Tooltips

Tooltip is a usually small text box that appears when a user hovers over an item. It communicates the purpose of the item to the user.

Message boxes

Message boxes show an information box to users and expect to choose an action from them.

Modals

Modal windows are boxes indicating a message and buttons that need your interaction or confirmation before moving forward. The confirmation box that appears before deleting an item on your mobile, is a simple example of modals in UI elements.

Containers

Containers are parts of the UI that organize pieces of similar content in one place.

Accordion

An accordion is a vertically assembled collection of items that use expand or collapse functionality. These elements are used when you want to organize large amounts of information in a limited space. You can choose whether you want to allow users to keep several parts expanded or reveal just one at a time.

User Experience Facets

You may ask yourself, what is UX and What are the principles of UX design? UX or UE is the abbreviation of user experience and is the overall experience of a user from visiting your website or app, in different aspects:

Usability

Usability answers the question of whether your website design makes it easy to complete tasks or not. To put it simply, it refers to the level of ease of use.

Users visit websites with an intention. It can be gathering information on a topic or purchasing a product online.

You need to make sure they can complete the tasks leading to their purpose of visit, without any difficulty.

Value

the Value element of UX design refers to the alignment between website features and user requirements. Value is all about user needs and how well you fulfill them with your website or product.

the Perceived value of a website together with other UX elements, like usability and desirability, can lead to a website’s success in UX design. The functionality and features you offer on your website define the value you have to offer to the end-user.

Adoptability

Closely related to usability, though different from it, is the adoptability that refers to whether users will start buying, downloading, or installing a product or service on the website.

A good example of poor adoptability is when businesses launch a new product and place Android and iOS version download links on the computer website version. Instead, they should place it only on the mobile version, where users can actually use that link to download the app on their mobile phone.

Adoptability is similar to usability and requires workflow design. But these elements are basically different. Adoptability is an element related to the stage when the user has not yet used the product. Usability is related to the stage that the user has started using it.

It can also sound similar to marketing concepts, as they both can lead to user conversion on a website. Adoptability focuses on the user’s experience before taking action to start using the product. Whereas, in marketing the focus is on marketing campaigns, web promos, email marketing messages, etc.

Desirability

Desirability is the extent the user experience of a website is enjoyable and engaging. Desirability is all about the emotional aspect of user experience from websites.

Sometimes, a website with good usability may lack user engagement and thus result in high bounce rate and low page views.

What are UI essentials?

A website is far more than just a bunch of related pages. It’s an interface, a place where various objects interact, connect, and affect each other, in this case, a person and the web presence of an organization or entity. The engagement offers the user an impression, and it’s your responsibility as a web designer or website owner to guarantee that this experience will be a good one.

And for this purpose, you need to concentrate on users and their expectations. 

Here are the essential UI tips that originate from human-computer interaction (HCI) concepts. These will help you focus on your users in web UI design.

1. Understand your users

The most important thing in UI design is to know exactly who your users are and more importantly, what they need. You should understand what obstacles they face and what concerns they have.

You may need to speak to them in-person, watch them using your product, and want specific information from them.

By analyzing their answers to specific questions about their goals and obstacles you will uncover insights that can affect every decision you make; from the way users use the interface to the things you need to focus on in your design.

2. Specify how your UI is used

With the trending touch-based devices, how your ui design is used is getting increasingly important. The reason behind this is that different users experience websites and apps differently.

Some of them use it directly, by touching the UI elements of the website or app, such as tapping buttons or zooming by two fingertips. Some of them are used indirectly by working with a UI element with another external tool; such as mouse, keyboard, etc.

3. Define expectations

Interactions on websites include consequences. For example, clicking a button can lead to spending money, deleting a file, or publishing a post publicly. So, it can cause anxiety if users don’t know what will happen after their interaction. You can diminish the stress in the following two ways:

Design

You can use visual elements like trash for the delete button, or a paper plane sign for sending the message or publishing a post.

Copy

Another form of allowing the user to understand what happens after interacting with your interface is by writing a clear straight-forward button copy.

For example, writing “Order” on a button will let the user know that they will be led to another page where they will specify product details and purchase from you.

Another form of it is receiving a warning and even asking for confirmation before processing the action.

4. Predict mistakes

Humans make mistakes. UI designers should be ready for it. The principle of predicting errors is called poka-yoke, a Japanese term meaning “mistake-proofing”.

 

As a UI designer, you should plan for user mistakes in two ways:

 

1. Minimize the chances of making mistakes

Designers try to minimize user errors in several different ways. They inactivate submission buttons on forms until filling out all fields. Forms validate the email address and phone number data before submission. Pop-ups warn when the user has not saved the changes on the settings page.

2. Enable fixes

You can let users fix their mistakes by providing details on what’s wrong and asking them to make it right.

5. Provide fast feedback

Users expect feedback from the world they interact with. You should understand this need and provide feedback to users after their interaction and as fast as possible.

Loaders are one of the good examples of giving fast feedback to users. While your website is working on the reload of a page, users should know that.

6. Think  through all element aspects

You should consider the right size and placement of a UI element on your website. If people cannot see your button because it’s too small or in the wrong place, then chances are they make mistakes.

7. Comply with the standards

 Although you may like to be creative and reinvent things in the UI, don’t add “cognitive load” on users. Pay attention to the standards and the things users have already learned. This rule is why Google Doc uses the same menu bar features as the old versions of Microsoft Word.

8. Simplify the interface

As George Miller says, people won’t keep more than 5 to 9 things in their short term memory. Remember this rule and minimize the things your users need to remember to interact with your website. Keep your UI design minimal, effective, efficient, and easy to learn.

9. Make it easy to decide

Every day, users visit websites with modal pop-ups, tooltips, and subscription to newsletter requests (before even knowing what the website is about). With today’s information, bombardment users feel better in a peaceful website.

One way to fulfill this implicit user need is to have fewer UI options, and thus fewer decision-making points on your website. To put it simply, have as few options as possible for your user to choose from.

10. Track the data

While user research is a useful way of understanding their needs, data gathered after the website launch is precious for you as a designer.

There are tools for tracking user actions and behaviors while visiting your website. Google Analytics, Mixpanel, and Hotjar provide data on how visitors use your website.

What are UI tools?

1. InVision

Whether you are a UI or UX designer, InVision is a useful web-based prototyping platform for you. Static design files can be easily uploaded and converted into interactive prototypes.

It’s also a collaborative platform, where other team members or your client can be added to the platform for direct feedback on your designs.

You can sign-up for free if you are an individual or a small team. Or go pro for cross-collaboration. There is also a customized package for enterprises with special needs.

2. Zeplin

Zeplin facilitates your communication with the development team. It provides you with specs and guidelines after you upload your designs. It gives a team of UI designers, UX professionals, product managers an inclusive workplace, where they can collaborate.

Zeplin integrates with some other great platforms like Slack, Jira Cloud, and Trello.

You can sign-up for free on Zeplin, and opt for a package that suits you based on the number of your projects and number of collaborators, among other features.

3. Balsamiq

Balsamiq, being a Wireframing software, is available as a desktop or cloud app. UI designers can easily drag and drop UI elements from the dashboard onto the Wireframe.

Before presenting your prototype to the developers, you can export it to PNG or PDF, print it physically, or usability test it online.

Balsamiq cloud comes with different pricing options after the free trial period, based on the number of projects.

4. Sketch

Sketch is a vector-based tool for any UI pro needs. You can resize anything you draw on Sketch, not worrying about losing sharpness.

Sketch is a Wireframing and prototyping software for Mac users. You pay for the product once but will need to renew your license for updates annually.

5. Figma

Figma is a great cloud-based tool for UI designers looking for an all-in-one solution. You can design, prototype, and get feedback on Figma.

Also, with its constraint feature, you can easily design for web layout or mobile.

Figma is free for two editors and three projects, but you will need to go pro for further requirements.

6. Flinto

Flinto, only available for Mac users, is a great tool for creative UI designers. It enables you to make interactive animated prototypes for apps.

You can drag and drop video and GIF files into your designs and use UI sound effects, as well. It also provides video and GIF exports, and Dribble integration.

7. Adobe XD

It is a vector-based UI/UX tool for Windows and Mac users of the desktop version and Android and iOS mobile users.

Adobe XD is a comprehensive software with features enabling designing, prototyping, sharing, and collaboration in one system. It’s quite similar to the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite. So, if you have used it you will feel even more comfortable with Adobe XD.

You can also create animations, motions, and parallax effects in your design.

It has two main pricing options for individuals and businesses.

What do you need to be a UX UI designer?

As a graphic designer interested in UX UI design, you will generally need to have design inspiration, skills, and knowledge of processes and layouts of UI UX design.
To become a UX designer you require professional experience or training in software development. You will need to have a good grasp of Wireframing and UI prototyping, visual communication skills, information architecture (aka IA), and analytical skills.
For a UI designer, it is necessary to know interaction design principles, a good understanding of branding, typography and color theory, style guides, user personas, as well as how to work with various UI design tools.

Dewzilla’s UX/UI Design Solutions

For a modern creative web design for your business, you can either learn to do UI/UX design yourself or outsource it to a professional team. Mastering UI UX design in a short time is a challenging task, as you will need to apply all UI/UX design principles for the best result.

For an aesthetic experience of your website visitors, Dewzilla’s professional team provides consultation, as well as the implementation of UI/UX for your business. Dewzilla’s UX/UI design services are flexible as we can do it from scratch or improve the one you already have.

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