in UI Design

Creating UI With The Right Mindset

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After you’ve been working so much on convincing them, when people surrender and finally incorporate your product or service in their lives, you can guess that they will have high expectation from it.

In the last years, our lives changed irreversibly with the introduction of various technologies, applications and services that made our everyday functioning easier, more pleasant. Our thirst for information and productivity “on-the-go” as well as in front of a computer grew exponentially. In the meantime, a quickly developing market developers succeeded in satisfying our needs, even managing to innovate in the process. As a result, it pushed the boundaries of what we imagined we could do on the web or on a mobile device.

All this redefined, in every aspect, what it takes to make a fantastic online product.

UI Design Can’t Be Perfect, Must Be “Perfect-Enough”

An incredibly important consequence of this evolution is the immense responsibility you, as a service provider / designer have when creating a product that will be used by hundreds, thousands and millions of people around the world.

This responsibility comes towards the people who will one day use your product.  Because succeeding in this business means that you will have lots of people for who your product will be an integral part of their day.

The UI design phase is crucial. Leave the minimum to chance.

Nowadays, with design kits, development frameworks and the ambition to get any product idea on the market as soon as possible -launch then think- the development phase often gets shortened, and the UI design process may immeasurably suffer. Why ?

Because developing a great product is before all focusing on its usability / functionality, today. And, in addition to some necessary theory, it simply needs thinking, and time. It can not be left to chance.

A designer’s job is not an easy one. Each minute of work represents hundreds of small decisions that all have to be made for the user’s own good. It is never a simple task to satisfy everyone, and to anticipate everything : potential obstacles, singular usages, people with a different mindset …

The right UI design mindset for such applications is all about your end-user.

When focusing on functionality over form, You must have a deep understanding on who the user is, how he thinks, what are his habits with digital products, as well as how you can transport the information over to him.

Which is the purpose of this beautifully designed dashboard, if the user cannot understand where to click next?

The best services today have “watered-down” their approach – they made it simple, attractive and fun, showing only what is currently important to the user, and highlighting that there is a lot more to come. All that through good layouts and good practices in UI design.

This efficient design is one of the factor that bring you to build a great experience for your users.

“Beautiful” Is Far From “Perfect”

Having a great looking user interface without it being built upon a great user experience / interaction design, results in a cluster of visually stimulating (and potentially disturbing) elements.

People might enjoy how it looks at first. But after the first minutes, when they (already) start building habits with the tool and start looking into being more efficient with it, the pleasant sensation can quickly fade and might transform into frustration.

At the same time, you shouldn’t expect people to keep using your service if you offer them the most straightforward navigation, while your design actually sucks.  

In both case, they might finally look for an alternative, in the hope to find what they needed in the first place – because your product does eventually not meet their standard.

In today’s marketplace where almost every developer’s end product can reach a satisfying level of quality – having an attractive cover just isn’t enough. Nor than just a pleasant navigation. Perfectness in UI design can not be reached, because design is destinated to Humans, but it can be approached. And the best examples are the ones that found the perfect alchemy between pleasant look and very efficient navigation.

Neglecting any aspect of this UI design process and this need for this wise alchemy, may lead to a chain effect in your product development strategy, and quickly enough to your failure.

The End-User In Mind

Never forget that your user is a person. A real one.

That they could use your service at work, on a train, or in a bed. They can decide to use your service, or it can either be imposed to them. They also may be looking for different things across their day or their progression through your service.

It is an evident fact that all your users will not be using your service in the same manner. You must design in such a way that it satisfy most of these contextual cases, if not all of them.

As expressed above, if I say that you should treat your design like it should satisfy every possible type of user, it turns out to be very unlikely and rarely possible.

Nevertheless, behind this logic hides a concrete goal.

While it is impossible that each and every person who uses your service will be completely satisfied, you can start by focusing on satisfying the “user minimum” first. Additional layers will come later thanks to their feedback.

Adopt A User-Centric Mindset

  • SIMPLICITY – Don’t expect people to be able to understand what you do. Build the product first for the less skilled people that may have to use it. Pay attention to the user’s need for usability and clarity of information. Don’t get across their way by overcrowding your design with buttons, text and illustrations.

  • ADAPTABILITY – Design your product so that it can work flawlessly in every browser and device. Don’t expect your users to have the most updated or the most popular technology. Try to highlight possible ways that the app can be used and utilize the screen space accordingly.

  • PROGRESSIVENESS – Good UI design never requires from the user to face a steep learning curve. This can be incredibly off-putting to newcomers. If there is a substantial amount of features you want to showcase, do it in a mild way, not all at once.

  • IDENTITY – Interfaces convey more than just a way to achieve something. One of the most direct ways to transfer the philosophy of your company is through your product’s UI design. After all, a picture tells a thousand words so you should always pay attention to what your design tells your users when they first see it – and when they use it every day.

Having an extended understanding on how your user base thinks is the key. You must know what people expect from your product and how they want to use it.

Prioritize user input and make it one of the most important aspects of your service’s design process. There is no good UI Designer that does not think with the “X” of “experience”. After all having deep empathy for your fellow man is nothing too complicated, and remind yourself that User Experience design is 50% of good common sense.

Tips To Succeed

  • Create very detailed wireframes for the layout. Doing this makes it a lot easier to transfer over your idea and create the final design. It also allows you to notice some mistakes that you may miss otherwise.

  • Seek opinions from testers. If a real test results in low completion/achievement rates then you may have a problem of usability. Direct feedback regarding a very specific detail may show a problem that is lowering the overall quality of your product. Perform usability testings or product analytics.

  • Clear all the unnecessary clutter and draw a straightforward path for every user’s expected action or move (Why Shorter Is Better).

  • While your product is moving forward in time, keep an “always-fresh pair of eyes” on your interfaces and user’s interactions. How would it look and feel to someone who just registered? How logical is the next step he/she should take?

  • Introduce new elements or features with care. It should always feel familiar to the user. Deploy, measure, learn from each product move.

Having a product that ignores its users and their needs is a recipe for failure in almost every case.

User satisfaction makes or breaks your product.

Thinking with the end-user in mind it is not just a philanthropic endeavour – it is in your interest to create with the right mindset to deliver a highly functional product, that drive user engagement, delight, and in-fine, revenue.

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