In the web development context, UI is literally the website itself. When you access a website, you are accessing a product’s user-interface. Therefore, how you have designed and laid down the UI is integral to how the website will look, feel, and function for the users.
Although user interface design is multi-faceted, its major components can be summarized into three modules, namely: visual design, interactive design, and information architecture.
Just because we are discussing it first doesn’t mean it is important than the other two. In fact, when we talk about functionality, its role is only that of a mediator between the product and the user. However, in terms of the ease, familiarity, and satisfaction it provides to the consumer, it deserves the top spot.
The visual design takes care of how your website will look. Its colors, fonts, elemental style, icons it’ll use, the way all that will be displayed, it all comes under the umbrella of visual design. It’s the first thing that people notice about the website, so make sure the site more-than delivers on the visuals to solidify a great first impression.
When we click a button on a website, it performs a certain action for us. When we check a box on an online form, it responds to us. When we miss an important field in the same form, it becomes highlighted. All this is taken care of by the interactive side of UI design. It presents the user-interface in such a way to us that we know or can learn how to interact with it. The more successful a UI design is, the easier and more productive its interactive design is.
It handles the structuring and organizing of the website in a way that makes it easier for users to find the information that they are looking for. It involves labeling, creating site flows, adding organizational hierarchy of web pages, adding categories and other details that enable easy and smooth access to, and use of, the site’s content.
Why does UI matter in web development?
Now that we are better informed on what UI is, let’s learn how an effective UI plays its role in creating functional websites.
It helps clarify your brand vision.
Your customers are at the center of your UI design and your brand vision, both. Learning their behaviors and preferences, you not only refine your UI, but you also become clearer on who you are as a brand and what you want to offer your users. This not only gives your branding efforts direction but hands you valuable competitive edge, too.
Combining visual plus interactive design with information architecture provides a seamless experience.
Not all UI is good UI. Good UI design anticipates customer needs and molds itself to user demands. It learns from the user’s behavior and becomes intuitive. To achieve such sophistication, a good piece of user-interface design must include all of its three main components: visual design, interactive design, and information architecture.
Even if one piece of this puzzle is missing, UI falls flat on its face and becomes ineffective. But when done right, it enhances user-experience exponentially and becomes practical and organic in its ability to help users perform task-accomplishment easily.
Anticipates customer expectations and delivers on them.
When sufficient and thorough user-research has gone into the UI design, it becomes adept at anticipating what action a customer might want to perform next. Accordingly, it comes with features, functions, and elements that deliver on those anticipations.
Makes site navigation a joy.
A functional UI means that it is simple to use, has elements and features in familiar places and there is no learning curve involved in the usage of it. When the UI is built on these principles, site navigation becomes a joy. Elements are clearly labeled, menu and page links aren’t hidden, and everything you want to find on the site is easily accessible within 3 clicks or less.
Improves customer satisfaction.
Web user-interfaces that are designed simply and with a focus on usability, add greatly to the UX part of the process. It increases customer satisfaction and ensures that every time a user comes on the website, they are able to perform their intended task with complete success. A site that is easy to use and which looks good will ultimately make returning to it a desirable possibility.
Increases site usability.
As I mentioned previously, good UI depends on a thorough and deeper understanding of how your users will interact with it, and then molding your site’s functionality to fit or improve those patterns. With consistent and regular customer feedback, good UI ensures refining its processes and improving itself to make the site more and more enjoyable and easier to use.
Aids in SEO and site conversion.
When sites deliver on customer anticipations, make task-performance easy and successful, and are a joy to return to, you ultimately start noticing an increase in conversions too. User-Interface that’s successful in its functions and aesthetics will lead directly to improved conversions and higher ROIs.
It is also important to note that good UI design also helps in SEO. Webpages with high bounce rates and low dwell times tell search engines that the site isn’t worth visiting – hence, low search rankings. This happens when people go to your site as a result of a keyword search but then cannot find what they are looking for, and leave sooner than intended. It results in a higher bounce rate and low dwell time for your site. Enough people do it and search engine interprets it as your site not having relevant content to that keyword, demoting your search ranking as a result.
To make sure your site performs optimally on search engines, make sure its content, functions, and visual design is useful and helpful to the end-user.
Good website and UI design depend on insightful customer feedback and meaningful UX design. Only by combining these three integral elements can we create a high-performance user-interface design that aids the business’s bottom-line and isn’t there to just look good.
James Spark is a creative content writer who works on freelance projects with specialty in branding, conversion optimization and digital marketing. He’s been in the field for the past five years, helping small businesses and startups getting online and profiting it. His friend friends are his cat Tommy and the laptop.