User experience design is having something of a moment since more developers than ever are considering how usable their apps are. Anyone putting something online these days faces steep competition, so it’s important to consider a few basic rules when you’re polishing the interface of any site you develop.
Using Design Systems to Reduce Workload
Do use a design system that makes it easy to duplicate the same fields over and over again. Don’t waste any time duplicating the same work. Years ago, Visual Basic got so popular because it was easy to copy frames and forms on top of one another, which made it possible to avoid having to constantly recode different UI elements. Much more sophisticated tools are available today, and you’ll want to make use of them. While you don’t want to cut corners to save time, it’s a good idea to reduce the number of repetitive tasks you have to do. All the time that you save on these tasks can be put to much better use refining the finished product and making the UX as polished as you possibly can.
Work with Sticky Headers
Do use sticky headers to entice users to keep exploring your site, but don’t use headers that vanish into thin air and hide pathways. Some UX experts call disappearing headers an example of so-called mystery meat navigation that should always be avoided. According to an article on Adobe XD Ideas, design expert Oliver Lindberg says you’ll want to “focus on which actions or elements add value for the user. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” Don’t feel the need to add some creative flashy element just because it’s out there. It’s much better to check sticky header examples from Adobe XD and try to work in the simplest ones. While sticky headers are of course not mandatory, they do work well for e-commerce and SaaS sites in helping users flow through the journey the designer intends for them to follow.
Writing Clear Messages
Do write useful, concise and clear messages that define your brand’s tone of voice. Don’t feel like you need to have some boring professional tone, especially if your brand is fun and modern. Be specific, for example, say have a button read “click here to learn how to make side cash” over something more generic and less descriptive like “learn more” or “make cash today” where the users doesn’t know what to expect to see once clicking. Some of the most successful organizations today have cultivated an exciting rebellious image that matches the products they’re hoping to move.
Keep everything fresh and always make sure to focus on the usability of any message you give your user. There’s a marketing slogan that states content is king. This truism is even more apropos when designing UI elements.
Making Good Use of Testing
Do work with the multivariate testing paradigm, which involves applying the scientific method to the testing process. Think of your current design as a hypothesis and your work as crucial as a scientist, and do your best to validate the hypothesis you believe to be true. Don’t publish your design without testing it. If you can’t independently validate it, then you need to go back to the drawing board. Do actually make note of anything that your beta testers recommend as well, having this user feedback will help improve your designs for all future users before it makes it to the public market. There’s nothing worse than a project that’s rigorously tested but not actually redesigned based on the feedback collected during the testing phase.
Putting Personas to Work
Do make sure to create user personas that align with your brand, your customer, and your various product or service offerings. Don’t ever forget to think about your users. User personas are archetypal users who have goals and characteristics that represent the needs of a larger group of users. You may want to draft documents that describe user behaviors and attitudes about using your products. Some designers take the time to create user persona templates, which ask for a few fictional details in order to make a persona a realistic character. Test your site according to how these individual personas might react. You won’t want to forget to include a persona that typifies a more tech-savvy user, to ensure that your UX design never seems user-obsequious.
The Do’s & Don’ts of App UX Design
Mobile app design has perhaps taken more flak because of UX problems than any other field. Many developers have been criticized for emphasizing aesthetic appearance and white space over anything else, which makes it hard to use apps even if they look really neat. Do make sure that there’s a strong focus on good aesthetics, but make these goals clear and universal. Well-crafted layouts with nicely choreographed animations and effects can help to ensure that people know you’re a serious contender in the mobile marketplace.
On the other hand, don’t clutter your apps with so many controls that people won’t be able to find what they’re looking for. Always keep in mind that your intended audience is human, and as a result they’re going to want access to interfaces that are designed with genuine users in mind. Quite a few developers don’t keep this in mind and instead put together interfaces that look great but aren’t really usable.
Do stress the qualities that one needs to develop when building any UX team. This will help go a long way toward developing a high-fidelity prototype that you can build off of.
Putting Together a Great User Experience
Always remember that there’s nothing magic about UX design. It all boils down to putting together something usable by employing the best practices from across the industry. Think about what kind of apps you’d like to use and whether you’d feel comfortable working with your prototype on a daily basis. If the answer is no, then you’ll want to go back to the virtual drawing board until you have something that’s suitable as a daily driver.