User Interface (UI) Design focuses on anticipating what users might need to do and ensuring that the interface has elements that are easy to access, understand, and use to facilitate those actions.
Choosing Interface Elements
Users have become familiar with interface elements acting in a certain way, so try to be consistent and predictable in your choices and their layout. Interface elements include but are not limited to:
- Input Controls: buttons, text fields, checkboxes, radio buttons, dropdown lists, list boxes, toggles, date field
- Navigational Components: breadcrumb, slider, search field, pagination, slider, tags, icons
- Informational Components: tooltips, icons, progress bar, notifications, message boxes, modal windows
- Containers: accordion
Best Practices for Designing an Interface
Once you know about your user, make sure to consider the following when designing your interface:
- Keep the interface simple. The best interfaces are almost invisible to the user. They avoid unnecessary elements and are clear in the language they use on labels and in messaging.
- Create consistency and use common UI elements. By using common elements in your UI, users feel more comfortable and are able to get things done more quickly. It is also important to create patterns in language, layout and design throughout the site to help facilitate efficiency.
- Be purposeful in page layout. Consider the spatial relationships between items on the page and structure the page based on importance.
- Strategically use color and texture. You can direct attention toward or redirect attention away from items using color, light, contrast, and texture to your advantage.
- Use typography to create hierarchy and clarity. Carefully consider how you use typeface. Different sizes, fonts, and arrangement of the text to help increase scanability, legibility and readability.
- Make sure that the system communicates what’s happening. Always inform your users of location, actions, changes in state, or errors.
- Think about the defaults. By carefully thinking about and anticipating the goals people bring to your site, you can create defaults that reduce the burden on the user.