What are your priorities when designing a user-interface for your Singapore website? Is it attractiveness or cool effects? Or is it the functionality to improve the user experience? What truly matters when designing user interface?
A website is more than just a group of linked pages: it is a web interface where a person or a business meet, communicate and interact with clients, customers and web visitors online. As a web designer, it is your responsibility to ensure that site visitors have the best experience possible when interacting with your website.
And the easiest way of ensuring your site visitor has a good experience is by mastering the key factors that make interface interactive. Let’ start from the beginning, shall we?
1. Know Your Target Audience
As a designer, you craft a user interface to solve somebody`s problem. You need to understand the aim of your site visitors and what they are struggling with. You need to know who is visiting your site.
Knowing your target user gives you the knowledge of the market. But it goes beyond doing a careful analysis of your market stats. Understanding your users at an empathy level extends to conducting a face to face talk, examining them using your products and perhaps, going deeper to asking them questions. And that would be deeper than what you think about the design.
Getting yourself into the shoes of your site visitors enables you to design a web user inter-phase that addresses their problems.
2. Explain to the Public How to Use Your Interface
After creating your interface, tell people how to use it. With the increasing popularity and prevalence of touched-based devices, it is critical to let people know how to interact with your app or site.
For instance, in the Tinder app, the use of simple swipes defines the user experience.
People interact with websites and apps in two ways, either directly or indirectly.
In direct interaction, a person interacts with an element of the product. For example, he taps a button, swipe cards or drag and drops an item.
In indirect interaction, a person interacts with an external element to the product. Examples include pointing and clicking with the mouse, using key command or short cut, typing information into a form field, and drawing in a Wacom tablet.
Your decision on the type of interaction to choose depends on who your users are and the kind of device they use to surf your site or app.
For instance, if you`re designing for the seniors or people with limited manual ability, most likely, you`ll consider swiping as the interaction mode. And if you`re developing for writers or coders, who mostly interact with apps using the keyboard you`d likely consider keyboard shortcuts to minimise working with a mouse.
3. Make The Results of a Certain Action Clear
When you interact with a website or an app, one action leads to a consequence. For example, clicking a button may mean spending money, deleting a site, or publishing a comment about something. And results come with anxiety.
So spell it out clearly to the user to know what will happen when they do specific actions on your site or app.
Here are simple ways to inform the user of the result of their actions in your interface.
- Highlight the button that corresponds to the expected, e.g. “click here to sign out.”
- Use widely understood symbols such as a trash can for delete button, a shopping cart to add an item in a shopping list, and a hand lens sign for search.
- Pick out a colour with relevant meaning, like green for “go” and red for “stop.”
And more importantly, for irreversible actions like permanent deletion of an account, it is rational to ask the user to confirm.
4. Expect Mistakes
People make mistakes, but they shouldn’t always suffer the consequences. There are two ways to lessen the impacts of human error. One is preventing an error from happening, and another is fixing the mistake when it happens.
Expecting the mistakes is far more satisfying than trying to fix the error after they happen. But sometimes you`ll have to let the mistake happen. And that`s where detailed error messages come in.
Write error messages. However, consider 2 things below:
- Explain the problem, e.g. Your password must contain at least one special characters
- Explain how to fix it, e.g. Enter a valid email
5. Give Quick Feedback
Many digital interfaces do not give back feedback or give slow feedback. Offering quick feedback can make you stand out in your market.
For example, if you place a download animation, make the button pop and snub back when a user taps it but not too much. Moreover, when a user does something of mutual interest, let the user interface thank them or congratulate them.
6. Consider Element Size and Placement Carefully
When an item on your interface is closer or bigger, the user is likely to put the cursor or a finger on it. This has three significant implications in UI design.
- Make buttons and other click targets big enough to easily see and click. This extends to menus, and separate link lists. Improper sizing will leave people clicking the wrong links.
- Make the buttons to the most critical actions larger
- Place the navigation bars at the edge of the screen
7. Pay Attention to Standards
It is right to be inventive, but only when it improves the design. Some time the redesigned version of an interface can make people think of where they`ve come .from.
8. Make Your Interfaces Easy to Use
Limit the number of things people have to remember when using your interface. Break bulky information into small digestible chunks. The simpler the interface, the easier it is for the user to remember.
You can mask a complicated app behind a simplified user interface. You can then tap into the concept of progressive disclosure where advanced features open in the secondary interface.
9. Ease Decision-Making for the User
Many websites appear to scream with banners and ads for visitors to view or subscribe. The more the options you present to a user the harder it becomes for them to make decisions. This gives you all the reasons to design a calmer user-interface. This explains why all landing pages and non-newsletter emails have one call to action.
10. Listen to Data
We all wish our website designs were evaluated purely on artistic merit. But it is essential to give your art a reality check and optimise it to meet the objectives.
Users research and testing are incredibly crucial in guiding your design decision toward reaching your site`s goal. But more important is the data you gather after the launch.
Set up analytics to your site and analyse them regularly. There a bunch of analytic tools out there, but Google Analytic works well with your project. It enables you to collect data based on action visitors take on your site, session time, and traffic sources.
With that, many sites have used these tips from Webflow and built engaging interactions and intuitive interactions. Here are some of the websites:
The Four Primary Pillars of Website User Interface Design
Already, we have discussed the importance of creating a website with a stellar user interface. Your target customers will enjoy browsing through the site if it’s not only appealing but also tailored to suit their needs and preferences.
Let us proceed and look at the four pillars of website user interface design. Note that if UI is done right, they won’t even notice it since they can seamlessly move from one page to another. However, if done poorly, they will notice and move to your competitors’ websites that are better designed.
Pillar 1: Give Website Visitors Control of the User Interface
Any professional UI design can attest that an exemplary user interface instils a certain degree of control to the target users. The control makes them feel valued and part of the brand. Here are some tips on how to achieve this goal.
Their Website Movements Should be Reversible
One of the leading causes of low conversion rate is customer’s inability to backtrack to the product pages to confirm something or move forward through the sales funnel. As you design the website interface, customers can quickly move back and forth without getting lost.
Otherwise, the website will feel like an unending maze, and the shopping process will be a nerve-racking experience, especially for new customers.
Provide Seamless Navigation
The website visitors should enjoy browsing through the pages even if it’s their first-time doing business with you. Please put them in a comfort zone by providing information to help them know exactly where they are on the website.
You can achieve this by providing visual cues as references to their movements. The cues will also create a sense of predictability in that they will help them predict the next page they will be redirected to even before they click on the buttons.
Proving feedback for every click or movement they make will prevent confusion. It will help them complete the purchase or find the information they are looking for without any friction. Concisely, the feedback should be based on the action. It should be not only meaningful but also easy to understand.
For example, if your website entails customers clicking on buttons to confirm they want to proceed, you can set it to change colour from maybe yellow to green. Lack of feedback will force the potential customer to double-check to see if the intended action was recorded.
Ideally, the feedback for everyday actions should be modest, while those for significant but infrequent actions such as filling signup forms and creating passwords should be substantial. For example, you can opt to highlight the password requirements.
Show Progress Status
Website visitors are more forgiving and willing to complete purchases if provided information on what is going on behind the scenes. Periodic feedback of the process, especially when the computer takes several seconds or minutes to complete, reduces bounce rate.
In a nutshell, progress indicators are subtle aspects of user interface design that influences comfort and guarantees a good user experience. You don’t want to present a blank page as the system is completing a task.
Understand Users Have Different Skill Levels
Not every potential customer who lands on your website can navigate the website and take the desired action without seeking help. As you design the website, strive to meet the needs of savvy online customers and first-time customers.
Explanation and tutorial videos can help you achieve this goal. Once they watch the videos, they will be able to complete the desired actions fast and independently. It is also recommendable to provide fast paths for experienced users by using shortcuts to complete specific steps.
Pillar 2: Make User’s Interaction with the Website Friendly and Comfortable
Eliminate Irrelevant Elements and Information
The most successful websites have a simple website design that is devoid of unnecessary elements. Irrelevant elements are noise in the UI that will hurt your site’s performance in terms of sales, ranking, and traffic.
Concisely, such elements compete with the essential information for attention from the users. Carry out A/B tests to identify and delete them to get ahead of the competition. All the information presented to a potential client should be relevant and helpful.
Apply the “less is more” concept when designing every page of the website. This concept will allow users to concentrate on what is most important. The irrelevant elements may trigger the users to start to doubt the ability of your product or service to meet their needs.
Avoid Requesting the Same Data Repeatedly
The easiest way to piss off a qualified lead who is ready to convert is by asking for data such as a physical address multiple times. Such actions show that your site is not streamlined and customer-oriented. The point is, eliminate tedious data entry sequences and only ask for essential information.
Eliminate Complex Terms/Jargons
When creating a website page, be it a landing page or a service page, desist from using complex terms to describe the product. All the users are interested in is finding a product or service that will resolve their needs. They are not interested in the complex terminologies explaining how the system works.
Use terms and phrases that they are familiar with instead of system-oriented words.
Consider Using Fitts’s Law for Interactive Elements
Interactive elements make shopping or browsing easy for all users. Fitts law states that “the time to acquire a target is a function of the distance to and size of the target.” In the context of website design, you stand a better chance of speeding past competitors if you design large targets for essential functions.
The term “large targets” refers to elements such as big buttons that users can interact with easily.
The law also states that the time required to achieve multiple targets is a sum of the time needed to acquire each. Therefore, as you work on your website user interface, focus on increasing the efficiency of every interaction. This goal can be achieved by lowering the distances and increasing the target sizes.
In addition, reduce the number of targets/elements that the website visitors have to interact with to complete an action such as signing up or moving through the sales funnel.
Interfaces Should be Accessible
A well-designed website is accessible to all website visitors irrespective of their capabilities and prior experience. Enhance usability by making sure everything on the interface is customer-oriented. One of the aspects that have a significant impact on accessibility is colour.
Understand that people respond to different colours differently. Some can see and respond to a wide range of colours, while others can only interpret a few colours. Studies show that 10% and 1% of women have a certain degree of colour blindness.
It is recommendable to avoid relying on colours as the only way of conveying the intended message. Every time you use colour, go the extra mile to provide cues to help pass the message effectively.
Take Advantage of Real-World Metaphors
When appropriately used in UI design, real-world metaphors create a connection between the digital experience and the real world. The real-world metaphors enable the users to use the existing knowledge about something to complete a digital process. They make unfamiliar processes familiar.
A perfect example is the recycle bin on your computer used to store deleted files. It plays the same function as the real-world dustbin. Its visual representation enables you to understand its function fast.
Ideally, good metaphors in website UI design create a solid connection to past experiences in the real world in the website visitor’s mind. MacBook recycle bin is very similar to the actual bin as it actually shows if it contains deleted files.
When deciding which metaphors to use, go for one that will enable the website visitor to understand the process and details straightaway. For example, when designing an online store, use an image of the conventional physical card when asking for the customer’s credit card details.
Design Knowing the Process Won’t be Perfect
Basically, what we mean is that you should engineer the website user interface for errors. The customers will make errors along the way, especially during the initial stages. Now, displaying error messages frequently will frustrate the user resulting in a bad user experience.
Take the time to create well-crafted error messages that are friendly. The messages should show the user that you are willing to help, not criticise them. Please don’t leave them in the dark to figure out what they should do on their own, instead provide hints on how to resolve the issue.
Earlier on, we discussed the importance of doing A/B tests to identify unnecessary elements. At this stage of designing, carrying out several experiments to identify elements that could be causing the errors and eliminate them. Doing so will diffuse the need to display error messages to the users. A good example is Google that reminds you to attach a file if you used the word “attached” in the email body.
Simply put, the best website designs have a robust error recovery process and try to cushions users from making mistakes in the first place.
Users Should Never Lose Their Data/Work
To help you understand this tip, picture an online store such as Amazon. The goal is to make the buying process as smooth as possible. What happens if the customer accidentally reloads the page after adding products to the cart or providing credit card information?
Don’t force them to go back to the product page to add them to the cart again or type in the credit card information. Develop a system that saves the data automatically to prevent any loss due to a system error, internet connection fault, accidental reloading, or any other reason.
Pillar 3: Minimise Cognitive Load
What is cognitive load? It is defined as the amount of mental processing power that a customer needs to browse a website and complete the desired actions. As you design the website, you should avoid giving them the perception that shopping at your online store is hard work.
Theory of Information Chunking
George Miller, a renowned psychologist, first introduced the theory of the chunking concept in 1956. He said that the human brain has a working memory to handle seven plus or minus two chunks of information while processing information.
This theory is helpful in website UI design when grouping and organising elements. For example, if the system is designed only to allow customers to input telephone numbers without the spacing, the incidents of incorrect input will be high.
We humans cannot scan clusters of ten or more numbers to identify errors. This is the primary reason why phone numbers are usually broken down into small sections using spacing.
How Many Actions do Customers Need to Take to Complete Actions?
Making the process of achieving a particular goal is signing up or buying a product as short and smooth as possible. You can achieve this goal by reducing the number of actions that the user needs to take.
Remember the three-click rule? Website visitors should be able to find information in not more than three clicks.
Recognition vs. Recalling
Renowned UI designers, including the MediaOne Marketing team, recommend focusing on recognition instead of recalling when designing a website user interface. This concept is based on the fact that it is easier to recognize something than to recall. The brain uses more cues to recognise the information.
As a UI designer, you can promote recognition when creating user interfaces by ensuring that the functionality and information on every page are not only accessible but also outright visible. Tooltips, context-sensitive details are examples of visual aids that can help website visitors to recognize information fast.
Enhance Visual Clarity
The proper visual organization is of paramount importance as it improves the legibility of content and the overall usability of the website. It allows visitors to find information fast and without having to seek help from the support team.
Here are tips on how to enhance visual clarity when designing website layouts:
- Avoid present chunks of content/information on the screen using a grid system to prevent visual clutter.
- Create a smooth flow by applying the form follows function.
- Adhere to recommended content organisation best practices such as numbering of items, the grouping of similar items, using prompt text and headings
Visual clarity will reduce cognitive load, thereby making the browsing process smooth.
Pillar 4: Ensure All User Interfaces Are Consistent
Consistency is one of the primary qualities of a good website UI. As many experts love to say, intuitive design is consistent design. It is one of the primary factors that determine learnability and usability. The goal is to create a smooth transfer of information from one section of the website to another.
The target customers should never question the quality or integrity of the product, service, or brand in general. Therefore, use the same fonts, colours, and icons throughout the website. For instance, the submit button on all the pages should have the same design and colour.
Otherwise, if the button has a different style or colour, some customers may be hesitant to click on it, thereby denying you an opportunity to generate sales.
Functional consistency means that elements on the website should work the same way throughout the website user interface. That is, the controls such as menu items and buttons should not be dynamic.
Online customers hate surprises, especially if it happens in the sales funnel when they are about to provide personal information. The changes can be frustrating and will result in a drop in trust and confidence.
The point is, do not confuse a potential customer – make sure all buttons are consistent. The interface element should behave the exact way the users expect them to.
Satisfying Users Expectations
People have specific expectations when it comes to the websites and even applications they frequently use. You will fail to achieve the set goals if the website interface or even the product design is not in line with the users’ expectations.
If you have to change something, make sure that you inform them beforehand and ask for their input when redesigning the interface to avoid negative outcomes down the road. More importantly, avoid reinventing patterns and terminologies.
5 Primary Reasons You Should Hire a UI Designer
By now, you know the importance of having a good website user interface. The process of learning how to rewire the current interface can take you months and cost thousands of dollars. Luckily, you can hire a professional UI designer to do it for you.
Here are five primary reasons you should hire a UI designer in Singapore.
Companies that Invest in UI Development Perform Better
You don’t have to scour the web to see that the most successful businesses here in Singapore and abroad have stellar user interfaces. Apple is a good example that continuously redesigns the website and its products to make them as easy as possible for the customers.
Hiring a professional UI designer in Singapore will give your brand the muscle required to get to the desired cruising elevation. Competitors will have a difficult time poaching customers from you once the development process is complete.
Reduce Development Time
As an entrepreneur, you have to continuously come up with ways of efficiently using the available time. You cannot afford to work on the same project for days while other essential tasks such as creating social media marketing campaigns lie pending.
Bringing on board a UI designer will free up your schedule as you will concentrate on other tasks as the designer works behind the scenes.
One of the things that prevent customers from converting is a poor user interface. If they cannot find the product, they are looking for fast and complete the shopping process smoothly, trust me, they won’t hesitate to close the window and visit the competitor site.
The UI designer will increase the brand’s revenue by ensuring that every page is customer-oriented. All the friction points that could deter the customers from purchasing will be eliminated, thereby cushioning your incurring losses.
Improve Website Performance and Ranking
The user interface is one of the factors Google uses to rank websites. A professional UI will catapult your website to the top of search engine results pages.
The highly ranked websites get more traffic and consequently more sales compared to the lowly-ranked websites. You can gain a top spot in SERPs by hiring a licensed and experienced UI designer today.
Builds Customer Loyalty
Firstly, the user interface is the art of creating the correct perception of the target customers. No matter how good your service or products is, if your website is difficult to understand or navigate, you will lose clients to competitors.
The UI designer will help you create a user interface that will foster customer loyalty. Satisfied customers won’t hesitate to refer you to their acquaintances if the product meets their expectations and the shopping experience was delightful.
The Bottom Line,
A website user-interface is more than just the design. The thing that matters most, is how the visitor will comfortably interact with your site. To ensure good user-experience, know your target audience, and craft an interface that tries to address their struggles.
UI design should be at the heart of your website development plan this year. Even though the cost of hiring a designer and making the changes may be high, the long-term benefits you will enjoy surpass the initial cost.
Once the new interface is live, we recommend monitoring how the customers interact with the various elements to know if some need to be tweaked or deleted.
MediaOne Marketing has a team of professional web designers who have vast experience creating custom UI for businesses in a wide array of niches. Don’t struggle to implement new elements and carry out A/B tests. Our team can help you with that and more, including search engine optimisation and social media marketing.
Get in touch today for more details about our website design services. We look forward to hearing from you. Also, feel free to share your views about website UI in the comment section.