Often people refer to User Experience (UX) design interchangeably with User Interface (UI) design, which is incorrect. UX is a human-first process focused on enhancing the usability, ease of use, and pleasure provided in the interaction between the user and the product, whereas User Interface (UI) design is focused on the cosmetics of the interface. One way to visualise the difference is to compare it with human anatomy, UX being the heart, the code the skeleton and UI is the skin.
We have outlined eight UX principles which are essential to consider:
1. User’s don’t like to think
Many of the principles below lead back to this point, a user doesn’t want to overthink and wants the route of least resistance. Therefore we need to ensure we’re turning complex problems into simple solutions.
2. User-Focused Mentality
A user’s behaviour tends to be instinctive. It is essential to visualise their workflow and mental approach when designing functionality. Users often don’t operate as we would initially predict, so involving them in the design process can be fundamental to its success.
3. Involve the user
Before we can start designing any User Interface (UI) or User Experience (UX) solution we need to understand why we are designing it. To do this we need to ensure that the user’s requirements have been thoroughly and rigorously determined and documented to ensure the solution matches the user’s needs. We need a crystal clear understanding of the user’s intuition, data and required output.
Consistency is a fundamental and crucial principle of UI/UX design. This principle ensures that the visual, operational and performance of the product is predictable. The user wants to complete the task with the least amount of brain-power possible. Inconsistencies reduce clarity and damage the UX.
User’s are used to things performing in a certain way and being placed in a certain location, based on their life experiences and instincts. Wherever possible we don’t want to oblige users to need extra learning. Working with well-established conventions lowers the threshold for users being able to utilise the product and improves adoption levels.
6. Clarity and Simplicity
Less is more with the UI, as this dramatically improves the UX. When there are too many workflows and features displayed on the screen users often feel overwhelmed and confused. Usually, there is a heavy focus on design with UX principles, but if the tool is used to perform a specific task the user needs to navigate through their workflow efficiently and that is deeper then a nice design.
Use concise and clear terminology throughout the UI to ensure the user quickly understand the function. Use of technical terms or less descriptive language leads to confusion and slows down a user’s ability to make a decision.
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The interactions and subsequent feedback between the user and machine are significant, whether positive or negative. These communications should be clear and concise, with guidance on next steps when required.