The Fundamentals of Solid UI/UX Design

Think of the last time you quickly left a website without browsing through the pages. If you’re like me, it was probably because the website was difficult to navigate and the overall experience was confusing. You likely went back on the search page and found a competitor that had a better website experience with all of the information you needed, combined with a smooth layout that was easy to navigate.

Multiply this scenario by a few hundred potential customers – all because a website is poorly designed. It’s like leaving money on the table and sending your customer out the door before you can even make a sale. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the importance of UI/UX design, a crucial factor in the overall website development process that determines how a user will engage with your brand.

Before we go any further, let’s discuss what these two design foundations are.

The Difference Between UI and UX

UI and UX are often used interchangeably, but they are two different elements that work together closely – much like an ecosystem in the design world.

  • UI Design stands for ‘User Interface’ design and deals with how the information is presented. Designers focus on achieving a seamless, user-friendly look and style that is easy to navigate and is enjoyable to browse through. The goal here is to design an interface that subtly guides your audience through your sales funnel.
  • UX Design stands for ‘User Experience’ design and involves the overall product (or service) development and creating a seamless experience based on the needs of the target audience. This can include usability, function, branding, marketing, and other aspects.

Together, UI and UX website design measure how well users engage with a website or app. The challenging part here is that a good overall experience is subjective. Regardless of how well the design layout and style are, each person has unique preferences and will engage with a website or app differently. This then poses the question –  how do we determine what UI/UX design is?

Thankfully, there are experts in the industry who have done extensive research and studies to create fundamentals for designers to follow. At iNet Media, our designers are Nielsen Norman-certified, a leading name in the user experience field. Let’s take a look at the fundamentals of solid UI and UX design.

UI Design Fundamentals

Some of the best websites feature a simple and consistent UI design that is easy to use and empowers the visitor to take action. The basic UI design fundamentals include:

  • Frictionless interaction – The user does not have to learn anything new in order to browse the website.
  • Predictable elements – Including buttons, dropdown lists, text fields, etc that a visitor can expect to see. This allows for intuitive interaction.
  • Clear navigation – Guides the user through the website naturally with clearly labelled icons and readable content.
  • Purposeful goal – The purpose of the website is clear, whether it is to purchase a product, book an appointment, or make a donation.
  • Consistent visual hierarchy – Design patterns are apparent and achieve the same visual look throughout to reinforce familiarity.
  • Key features – Keeps the user engaged and catches their attention, such as pictures and videos.

UX Design Fundamentals

The tricky part about crafting a solid UX design is that it varies between different visitors and the context of the product or service. This highlights the importance of understanding your audience and creating the design with a human-centric approach. Consider the following fundamentals as a guide to good UX design.

  • Meets the exact needs of the customer – To meet the needs of the customer, UI/UX designers observe user behaviour and how they think. Because customer needs vary depending on the context, designers must understand the target audience and what motivates them to take action. This can be substantiated through user testing, surveying, and research.
  • Helps the user solve a problem – A good design process is strategic with the goal of helping the user solve a problem. Designers use site mapping and stage a prototype to investigate key factors. How will the user navigate through the design? Is the process clear? Does the interaction feel natural? Does the design guide the user through the website or app in a way that empowers them to take action?
  • Prioritizes functionality and usability – The best designs focus on usability. The overall look and style can be beautiful but if it’s hard to use, the aesthetics don’t matter. Good UI/UX designers can work incredible aesthetics without compromising the functionality of the website or app.
  • Tested for validation – A/B Testing and creating a clickable or coded prototype are two of the most common strategies to test the validity of a website or app. UX designers constantly learn about user behaviour and understand that the process is ever-evolving.

To Sum It Up

The overarching objective of a good design is to empower the user to take action with consistency and simplicity, married with the right methods that make sense for that target audience. The fundamentals of UI/UX design have been extensively studied, researched, tested, and proven to increase the likelihood that customers will complete the desired outcome.