The user interface (UI) of any website or mobile app has a massive impact on the overall user experience (UX). If you’re looking to up your game and improve your designs, there are many methods you can use. The first step is being aware of the limitations in the interfaces you’ve already designed.
In the United States, there are more than 140,000 web design services, all vying for the attention of clients. Anyone with a little coding knowledge can call themselves a designer and do the necessary work of putting a site together. To truly stand out from the crowd and develop a niche specialty with UI, you have to hone your craft and rise above similar businesses.
Whether you’re a beginner or you’ve been in design for years, there are some steps you can take to improve your abilities today. Here are six key ingredients to creating better site construction.
1] Start With a Solid Foundation
Adding fancy features may be attractive to your clients, but if your site’s bones aren’t reliable, you risk the entire thing failing. Users don’t care for brands whose webpages don’t function well. Start with a good design you have experience with, and you know performs well in most situations. You can layer new features on top of the basic layout and formatting.
Pay attention to design elements such as spacing and positioning. Some designers start in grayscale first and then layer in color later. Removing the color shows how each component acts in its simplest form. You’ll see errors and issues before you add detail.
2] Practice Open Communication
You might be the most brilliant designer ever to live. However, if you don’t listen to your clients and their needs, you’ll fail on most projects. Develop better communication skills by hearing more than speaking. Take notes as the customer talks so that you can refer to them later and offer a design that matches their needs.
Each person you work with has a slightly different personality and way of communicating. You must become a student of human nature to decipher how to speak to each client and meet their expectations.
3] Anticipate User Needs
Figure out what actions a person wants to take when they visit a website and design an interface that answers those pain points. One example is someone late on a payment. They log into the site and get a notification that they can pay right there.
Around 86% of people would prefer to use a chatbot rather than fill out a form, so program your site to initiate a chat and offer personalized options most likely to solve problems.
4] Study Various Platforms
Figuring out what a platform can and can’t do helps you become a better designer over time. Determine what the best methods are for each platform and understand which interfaces perform best for responsive web design.
Get into the nitty-gritty of the differences between touch and point designs. Take a look at guidelines for iOS and Android apps, so you know how much leeway to design for mobile devices.
You may want to tap into some of the newer interface design trends, such as voice search and wearables. Knowing how to adapt to new technology may put you ahead of other designers and give you a niche area to market.
5] Become Familiar With Patterns
UI design patterns are reusable solutions to common issues in interface design. Pattern glossaries are available online that will help understand where you can utilize the same code and save time and effort.
Take a look at other people’s designs and see if you can replicate it. Copying for practice allows you to see patterns and learn from those who’ve come before you. If there is a particularly complicated interface, practice designing one just like it. You will eventually come up with your own models and methods of designing.
6] Learn Hierarchy Skills
One of the most important things you can do as a designer is to figure out the hierarchy of a design. What is the most essential element on a page? Once you figure out the architecture of your site, you can more easily highlight the top features.
Keep in mind that the most vital component on a page isn’t what you want it to be but what users care about. Why does the person arrive on the site, and what task do they want to perform when they get there?
Figure out how to make completing that task as easy as possible. You should also eliminate elements that don’t point the customer to the goal. Too much clutter distracts and keeps the person from quickly completing the task.
7] Gain Feedback
Find a mentor. Join an online group and ask for advice. Ask your boss or clients for a critique of your methods. The more input you get on your designs, the more you’ll improve. Remember to look at the feedback in the right spirit. Don’t see comments as criticism, look at them as a way to improve.
If you aren’t sure how to fix an issue with your design, ask people who are more experienced than you are. Plus, always strive to be a little better every day.
Never Stop Learning and Improving Interface Design
If you want to be one of the top UI designers in the world, you must seek new opportunities to hone your craft. Consistently apply the concepts above and practice in your spare time. The more you immerse yourself into the world of interfaces, the better you’ll understand them, and the more advanced your designs will become.