It's not always obvious when you're not in the business, but web design is an exercise that relies more on human psychology than on chance or the creativity of a web designer. For a website to be easy to use and intuitive for users, it is important to understand them and adapt the designs accordingly.
In the field, the terms user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) are often used and it is important to understand them.
Quick definitions of UX and UI:
A user interface (UI) is the means by which a person interacts with a piece of software, an application, or a website. It represents all the visual and interactive elements, such as buttons, menus, forms, icons, images and colors, that allow the user to communicate with the system. The main objective of the UI is to make the interaction between user and system simple, intuitive and efficient.
User experience (UX), on the other hand, encompasses all the emotions, perceptions and reactions that a user experiences when interacting with a product or service. UX focuses on how a user feels and evaluates their overall experience. It is a broader discipline than UI, as it takes into account all aspects of the interaction, including psychological, emotional and behavioral factors.
UI and UX are closely related, but they focus on different aspects of design. UI focuses on the visual appearance and direct interactions with the interface, while UX looks at the overall user experience, including expectations, needs and goals. A good UI is essential for a positive user experience, but UX is about more than just visual appearance.
Here are some tips and best practices that should guide you in creating or improving your website:
- Simplicity and clarity: aim for simplicity in the design of the interface. Avoid superfluous elements and focus on a clear and uncluttered presentation. Make sure that actions and features are easily understood by users. For example, it is recommended that clickable elements of your website have the same color, so the user will quickly understand which elements are cleavable and which are not.
- Jakob's law: users spend most of their time on other sites. This means that they prefer your site to work the same way as all the other sites they already know.
- Intuitive navigation: Design a clear and intuitive navigation. Use well-organized menus, easily identifiable links and explicit buttons. Make sure users can quickly access the information and features they are looking for.
- Use "call to action" buttons: These buttons are meant to tell users how to perform an action. The message inside each call-to-action button must be clear. Prefer formulas such as: "Add to favorites", "Add to cart", "Make a payment" rather than too simplistic formulas such as: "Continue", "Next", or "Submit". It is important that the action of clicking on the button is clear and it should be easy for the user to deduce this action from the message in the button.
- Consistency: Maintain consistency throughout the interface. Use common design conventions and keep the same logic throughout the website. For example, use recognizable icons and call-to-action buttons that always look the same.
- Responsive and adaptable: Make sure your interface is responsive and adapts to different devices and screen sizes. A responsive design ensures an optimal user experience, whether on a desktop, tablet or smartphone.
- Accessibility: Make sure your interface is accessible to all users, including those with special needs. Use contrasting colors, readable fonts and consider the needs of people with visual or motor disabilities.
- Readability and scannability: Users tend to scan web pages quickly rather than read them in detail. By providing blocks of text that are too long, you risk making it difficult to read and losing users' attention. By opting for concise and well-structured text, you facilitate readability and scannability, allowing users to quickly find the information they are looking for. It's important to note that this doesn't mean you should completely eliminate text from your website. Textual content is still crucial for communicating important information, descriptions, explanations and specific details. The goal is to find a balance between providing clear and relevant information while avoiding overloading the pages. For example, text blocks can be combined with bulleted lists or tables. Most importantly, consider including: images, graphics or icons to complement or visually represent the information.
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