As we move into the future, the importance of the role and skill of a User Interface (UI) designer to a web designer will become even more needed. The rise of new technologies and standards for the design and development of web pages, will create a demand for more customized and dynamic experience while accessing web-pages.
Having that in my mind, there are some guidelines or laws (that shouldn’t be broken) to assist in the design and development of that perfect and easy to use/navigate web page.
Listed below are 7 unbreakable laws that you should have at the back of your mind before embarking on that User Interface (UI) design:
CLARITY OF USER INTERFACE
Every user interface design should have at its core clear and concise elements to enable users have easy navigation through the web-page, as users tend to avoid interface elements without a clear meaning. A typical example of this law been broken was when Google made an update to the Gmail web-page and decided to simplify its elements by putting them behind an abstract icon, the result was that most users never noticed the icon and the Gmail support center had a field day replying to requests for assistance.
PREFERRED ACTION ON A USER INTERFACE
Users should never get on a web page and begin to wonder what to do next. The preferred action should always be obvious, as users tend to feel more comfortable when they understand what they should do once they get on a web page. For example using twitter on web seems to be a very tricky experience as a new user might get lost trying to navigate where to compose a tweet and such.
USER INTERFACE CONTEXT
Users will always expect to see interface elements control close to the object they want to control. That is why it is essential to always keep things handy for users, if an element can be edited or changes, place the controls to perform such actions close to the elements for ease of access. Editing account settings under LinkedIn is much easier than doing same on Facebook, due to the ease of navigation.
USER INTERFACE DEFAULTS
Most users don’t notice defaults. Simply because they might have no need to want to change such default. But in a case where a user decides that a default is not good enough and wants to change it, it doesn’t speak well of the designer of that application or web page. That is majorly why as a designer you must make sure that all default values are as useful and practical as possible. The user will rarely change a very good default settings.
GUIDED ACTION FOR USERS
If you want users to do something, ask them to do it without hesitation. The user will probably do something if asked to do it. Reason because there is a big difference between waiting for a user to do something and asking the user specifically to do it, primarily because most user prefer to ignore things that do not expressly affect their usage of an element.
Users always want to have the feel of a clear flow in communication when making use of an interactive web-page, because a gap in feedback relaying can discourage a user from coming back to that web-page. The user will feel more confident if you provide clear and constant feedback. A great example of good feedback is the Gmail web app, you will get a clear notification for every action you take, including a learn more and undo links. Feedback makes users feel in control and makes them confident to come back and make use of your product.
EASE OF USAGE
Users will rather fill a form in multiple smaller stages than when a singular form page is packed with multiple slots to fill, this is because small tasks are not intimidating to the user and gives a sense of accomplishment when completed. The user will be more inclined to perform a complex action if it is broken down into smaller steps.
There’s a punishment for breaking this laws, although it won’t come at the moment of designing but in comes in form of users who are displeased with your work and who will ultimately leave a bad review for you.
****culled from an article on 99designs by Peter Vukovic.