User Interface — sounds clear but what exactly does this concept cover under its umbrella? And why do so many people, even experts, still confuse UI with UX? What’s the borderline between the two? Get it straight right now!
As a matter of fact, UX is the broader term that relates to the whole User Experience with the specific website/app. Usually, this experience takes place digitally, but it isn’t limited to this sphere of implementation and can be traced with non-virtual devices, as opposed to the UI. What matters here is not only the behavioral history of interaction between the user and a certain product/service but the feeling it evokes at the end. The latter determines the future of cooperation: whether the customer will remain loyal or will get away in the search for the alternative.
In contrast, UI is mostly the visual (graphical, informational, and interactive) component of UX. These days it even goes further to the audial and gesture-based representation through the help of innovative technologies like voice control assistants (Siri, Alexa, Bixby, Google Assistant, Cortana) and 3D effects (VR games). Nevertheless, traditionally, UI includes screens, buttons, menus, icons, animation, images, colors, fonts, and other elements of the website architecture. So, UI is only the part that shapes the user’s impression of the site/app.
However, like true soulmates, UI and UX cannot exist without each other. Imagine yourself choosing a banking app. If it’s the one that possesses a pleasant design and easy navigation (UI) but works terribly slow and irritates you with unnecessary actions (UX), then your usage of it won’t last long, right? Or let’s take the reverse situation: the app has splendid content organization and appeals to the target audience (UX), but you feel lost moving between screens to the final money transfer action (UI). Will you close it right in a sec?
That’s why UI and UX work side-by-side for you not to click away from the site.
Business Value of UI Design
Certainly, you know the drill being the Internet and various apps user yourself. Meanwhile, when it comes to business, many of us underestimate the value of UI. What’s the potential threat? Let’s realize the error of these ways!
If you still believe that your project doesn’t need a strong UI, it implies the following:
- You don’t care about the first impression. If it’s a digital product, UI and UX blend to produce a definite response on the part of its customers. That’s especially important for startups that are at the stage of introducing their service to the wide public and are interested in doing it right.
- You don’t trust visual design techniques. In case a refusal is conscious, you’re probably an advocate of the ‘meaning over form superiority’ approach who doesn’t believe in the power of the <em>golden ratio</em> and the <em>aesthetic–usability effect</em>. Nevertheless, the practice confirms that the perception of the visually pleasant webpage design strengthens the user engagement and stirs attention away from its possible minor drawbacks. Thus, the companies sharing this philosophy raised their product usability to 68% in 2020.
- You don’t see the link between UI, UX, and revenue. Investing in the visual design of your product increases your chances of getting a financial return. Why so? In the first place, that’s about Gen Z and Gen Alpha user expectations. Being digitally savvy, they aspire to extract more from the product than its practical value. Thus, personalized retargeting, privacy respect, and simplification of gestures should be in-built into your UI. If you’ve got it, you’ll be the one who belongs to the camp of winners as 8 in 10 customers prefer paying more for a better UX, where UI is a core.
- You don’t play smart for your customers' loyalty. Serving first-class, you don’t even need to launch high-cost marketing campaigns, or at least with the retention purpose. Instead, you can use them for targeting new markets. The reason for it is the natural customers' loyalty that is way more profitable than the price for acquiring the newcomer: the probability of selling the product to an existing consumer ranges from 60% to 70%, while the prospect of leading a potential one to the buying step is no more than 20%.
- You miss out on a chance to strengthen your brand recognition. Being intuitive for users is the cornerstone of easy acquaintance with the product from the very first clicks. Isn’t user-friendliness the #1 explanation for Google’s or Amazon’s success? A clear and convenient UI is a magic sparkle driving the users' interest and bringing even more brand fans to the site. What’s more, sometimes word of mouth is the most effective form of advertising, so never ignore it!
Core Principles of UI Customization: 2021 Trends
Though there’s a lot to discuss, we’ll focus on the list of UI principles we live by. Teach what you preach, or what’s the purpose of sharing then? When you finish with looking them through, train your eyes through finding their visual embodiment at our site. Let’s get it started!
Ideally, UI should be devoid of any ambiguity or misleading elements, while the text and the page layout should guide the user towards its goal. Clarity also coincides with simplicity as the chase for the eloquent design can make its creators forget the human centricity of their final product. Don’t overdo with your flight of imagination! Real-life language and minimalistic design work better, even if you try to surprise your target audience. Stay strong with clarity because it’s worth more than the fancy (but usually hard-to-grasp) interface.
Every element of your UI should be functionally specific. Otherwise, put it away from your site/app immediately! Today no one would value the interface with the irritating pop-ups, animation, and multiple hints. While planning your UI, think critically about the purposefulness of each site’s component and place yourself in the user’s shoes. The spatial relationship between the chosen items also makes sense, so highlight their importance by drawing attention to the major and blurring the non-essential.
Would you like to get a briefing about the service before trying it yourself? Nothing is as precious as time, that’s why a proper, short introduction to your product can save users' resources to learn the gist themselves. In this relation, the About Us and Services pages have a tremendous impact on the quick acquaintance with your brand story. Besides, the Blog is also an indispensable tool for onboarding. It narrates your success cases, practical revelations, and plenty of educational stuff through which the user can feel your expertise, get to know you better, and decide on what help he can expect from the company.
4. Intuitive design
Easy recognition of the app’s/site’s functions, together with the step-by-step understanding of their usage, is the key sign of its intuitive design. Your task is to create a platform that will be understandable and legible to the eyes of the person who sees it for the first time. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel when the job is done a long time ago! For instance, never make the confirmation button orange when the majority of sites use green as the default color. Remember, creativity shouldn’t displace common sense!
5. Immediate responsiveness
The good UI demonstrates the instantaneous reaction to the user’s actions. In this way, the customer comprehends what’s going on and stays calm and confident during the interaction. Owing to the business specifics, our main channels of communication are email, social media, and a contact form on the site. We find them working for us and our clients, but you can choose what suits best for your business model: customer support, phone calls, etc.
The same as parallelism is required as the grammar geometry device, consistency is crucial for UI customization. Here, this principle implies adherence to the common stylistic design among all sections and pages of the site. The same translates to the app’s interface. Whatever your digital product is, the key elements of UI, such as menus and sliders, should behave equally on any page the user can visit. Their hierarchy and overall visual design should follow a similar manner too. With consistency comes good taste!
7. Aesthetic value
The visual attractiveness of the site/app is another UI principle that is probably taken from the art sphere. Meanwhile, don’t limit aesthetics exclusively to colors or the site’s pattern selection. It’s much broader than that! For example, a lack of distractions is a cherry on the cake, which allows the user’s uninterrupted problem solving and smooth product usage. Another vital prop to UI aesthetics is the account for the specific audience. Instead of copycatting the templates, create the design that will provide a pleasant experience exactly for your TA. The desire to appeal to all is doomed from the start!
In addition to the attractive outer shell, your site or app requires way more — effectiveness. Never demand redundant actions from your users, even if that is convenient for you! One of the good illustrations is formatting. Many sites ask their users to put down telephone numbers, passwords, or other registration/log-in information in a specific way. Why? Because it saves time to fill it in their database. But why should this bother users? The other case is the web’s CAPTCHA imposing: it solves the site’s spam problem but demands each user to come through the anti-robot verification. Where’s the care of customers here? Don’t be selfish while adding such UI elements to your product!
9. Strategic use of color
We’d like to accentuate the first word once again — strategic use of color. In design, there’s already a defined approach of mixing color and texture to denote a specific meaning to the user. In cognitive psychology, there are also 2 helping notions — <em>figure and ground</em> — that explain the peculiarities of human perception. Why not combine them while modeling your UI? For instance, warmer colors and lighter contrast are to draw the user’s attention, while darkening of the color palette is intentionally used to put the subsidiary to the background or depict it as a 3D object (usually happens to the pressed button). Use such kind of knowledge mindfully to guide your users in the right direction!
10. Mobile adjustment
A piece of statistics first! As of July 2021, the number of Internet users has reached 4.80 billion (61% of the world’s total population), while the percentage of mobile users is even higher — 67% (5.27 billion). This fact evidently calls us for the website’s adaptation into the convenient mobile version. So, are you in a trend like Dashdevs or do you need a push to catch up?
Tips What Not to Do in Your UI Design
You’ve been kindly provided with the working UI customization trends of 2021, and now it’s time to use reverse logic. What shouldn’t be done to kill your UI? Let’s put it in a quick DON’T DO IT list:
- Don’t complicate your registration procedures! => Better use a verification link to the email or allow quick social media sign-in instead of the long and tiresome form filling.
- Don’t prolongate the users' site journey with unnecessary clicks and page/window transfers! => Each step presupposes effort, so make it meaningful.
- Don’t make your design too fancy and obtrusive! => Minimalism is the best spice, and the right atmosphere for your TA matters more.
- Don’t mix up the styles! => Choose elements from the same family, mind their size and page location, and take care of the website integrity.
- Don’t rely on the browser version only! => Adjust your site to the mobile-friendly version and satisfy the current customers' demand.
- Don’t overdo with the 3d visuals! => Some say that it’s tech-stylish but consider the loading factor first.
- Don’t overestimate clarity on the user’s side! => We don’t say that your UI should look like a draft for dummies but advise on the external audit to access the site’s perception from outside.
Have we expanded your horizons about UI customization in 2021? Would you like to get professional consulting on this subject for your fintech project? Contact the Dashdevs team without hesitation, and we’ll turn your product into the perfectly customized candy!