7 Tips For Improving Your User Interface Design

Written by Kevin Liew on 19 Feb 2013
34,393 Views • Techniques


When you're trying to cover all the functionality that you want your site to offer, sometimes it's easy to lose track of fundamental user design. But your interface must remain eye-catching, familiar, and interesting to your users, or you'll miss out on attracting new readership; you might even alienate your old audience. So make sure you've taken the right steps to create a successful user interface; take a hint from the tips below.

1. Personalize Your Design

The first consideration when it comes to good user interface design is what the user likes and wants to see. Become familiar with your audience through your interactions (some sites hold polls to discover more about their readers), and adapt your design to suit their preferences.

For example, one glance at the Swiss Miss blog, with its minimalist design and limited color palette, shows the user that its content might appeal to people with a similar aesthetic. On the other hand, this blog has very similar design and inspiration content, but you can tell that it's focusing on a readership that appreciates a more organic and exuberant style.

2. Systematize Your Design

After you've considered the elements that will make your site stand out, put some thought into how you'll unify those elements into a consistent whole that functions in a variety of applications.

Vanmoof chose to use a system of highlights in bright yellow to call attention to the important information on a page. Black text emphasizes the features you've chosen, while light grey text implies that you can rollover it to get more information. The site is designed along a strict grid, and you can expect for information to stay consistent across pages; for example, the details of each product will remain in a box on the left. All these choices make a big contribution to the ease of use that people will get out of this site.

3. Think About Your Typography

When deciding how to guide user experience, typography is often overlooked, yet is quite an important consideration. Establish a hierarchical system of typefaces and their weights and styles, and have a plan for the applications and combinations in which you'll use them.

4. Use Icons in Navigation and in Content

Icons are almost always a useful feature to incorporate into any kind of site; they're an easy way to add depth and interest to your brand as a whole, while also livening up any individual page. They function well in both navigational elements and body copy, and interrelated icon sets can be combined to add even more interest to the page.

This cloud computing guide shows how even very minimal, small iconography can add a lot to a page, breaking up block of text, guiding the eye, and enticing the reader to continue down the page.

5. Find a Balance Between Images and Content

Many websites suffer from an excess of text and not enough arresting visual imagery to keep the page engaging. Although it can be difficult to come by or create stunning, high-quality photography or illustration, there are ways to overcome this obstacle.

This website does use photography, but the design is primarily carried by the squares of bright color that work with the typography to create an unusual but logical system or organization. Powered by the Amazon ecommerce software, it's layout walks a great balance between displaying all the necessary content while still allowing users room to breathe.

6. Consistent Navigation Can Still Be Interesting

As aforementioned, it's important to maintain certain standards so that your users don't get lost and annoyed searching for things. Keep your navigation across the top, and your search bar along the left-hand side. Make sure that your social media icons are easy to find, and your clickable areas are well-defined.

That being said, working within these restrictions can still yield great results. The Chitwood and Hobbs website maintains a traditional horizontal layout with their navigation, but it's made unique by the gorgeous typography and interesting placement of elements.

7. Simplify Elements as Much as Possible

Even if you run a fairly simple site, it's always best to reduce confusion by careful organization, and to include as much white space as possible.

This webstore's products make it necessary to include a lot of information; far too much to fit gracefully above the fold. The design accommodates this problem by embracing it; it gives a traditional, very simple product detail page, then allows generous space for further information below, set into clear sections by using different background colors.

In fact, simplicity is usually the key to getting a good user interface; you'll notice that all the examples above have made ample use of white space, clean type, and a reductionist mindset. No matter what type of style of site you have, this always helps to set a good tone and improve your user experience.

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Francisco Chávez 11 years ago
"Consistent Navigation Can Still Be Interesting" : A Consistent navigation is a fundament of a good usability, therefore, a good user experience. For this reason, is not razonable to talk about..."can still Be interesting"
Kundan 11 years ago
Nice tips. thanks for sharing.
Ali 11 years ago
hmmmm...very tnx.