Top 10 Important UX design principles for Beginners
Every UX designer out there can't afford to mess up with the user experience as far as app/website design comes into place. When designing an app/website, you target to attract customers/traffic to your site. Whatever the website is meant to offer, remember there are plenty of other products of the same line out there. It, therefore, goes without debate that the last thing you would want to do is to chase the users not by the product or service you offer but by how your design is judged by visitors/customers. This explains why a plethora of companies invest much in user experience design. The user experience defines how a website/app user interacts with your product. It covers things like ease of navigation and whether the user gets satisfactory services. User experience is crucial because it seeks to answer user needs by giving them a good platform to keep them loyal to your product. Also, user experience constructs customer journey on your product which itself is a great ingredient for business success.
Top 10 Important UX Design Principles
For the success of every UX design, certain principles ought to be the backbone and basis of the UX design process. Without following these principles, your website/app is inevitably going to flop. The following are the top 10 most important UX design principles for every UX design beginner.
1. Meet User Needs
The primary aim of every design is to meet the user's needs. Without this, there is no reason for users to visit your website/app. More often, designers make a mistake of thinking for the user and end up making costly mistakes. First of all, remember you are not the user. With that in mind, you need to know what the user needs before you proceed. Fortunately, there is plenty of users who needs testing methods that don't require you to fork out a lot of cash. Conduct these tests and incorporate the user needs in your design. For example, you can choose to use slide buttons whereas users prefer clickable buttons to make their navigation smooth. This way, users will get bored and run to other similar-purpose apps/sites. A design may look eye-catchy but if user needs are not met then it won't captivate the user.
Consistency is one of the most important principles you can't afford to ignore in your design. Consistency here means the choice of fonts, colors, size of images, and the general flow of your designs. You cannot just pick any color or shape/image size and put them in your design. The diverse unrelated colors and shapes can create a messy interface that chases visitors in a blink of an eye. Also, your arrangement of items should be consistent. Don't let users struggle to locate things on your interface. Take the example of a form filling page. The different field instructions and buttons should at least be of related color and font size of not same. This way, users can clearly see where they have filled and where not.
The last thing a user would want to experience on your app is getting stuck because of an unclear process. This becomes worse, especially where it involves sensitive transactions. Users want to get clear information as to what action happens upon clicking a certain button or filling in certain information. Also, they want to get track of where they are and what is remaining in the kind of transaction they are doing. Take for example you are purchasing a product online. The page should be designed in a way that you can see the product page, billing page, and confirmation page among others. This way, users understand exactly where they are in the transaction process. This is much better compared to a large page that requires you to scroll down to find more sections of the transaction.
4. Have a Hierarchy
Hierarchy can be underestimated yet it can break or make a given design. Users don't waste time on difficult-to-navigate designs. They switch to other same-purpose apps/websites for effortless navigation. This difficulty is often contributed by the poor flow of pages or sections. Hierarchy can be described by how the content or information has been organized across the design. Also, visual hierarchy is an important element of design hierarchy. The most important information often takes a different font, color, and position. Take for example the Amazon website. The primary window has a primary menu at the top like Today's Deals, Customer Service, and Sell among others. When you click on an individual option, it leads you to its secondary menu and so forth. Also, the sliding information is very important because it briefs the user on new arrivals and price changes. You can see that it is given a different background color that easily captures user attention.
Feedback is a direct communication from the design to the user. It tells the user whether they are doing the right thing or not. With this information, the user knows whether they have done or are doing the right thing. Take for example a job application form. When you finish filling and hit the "Submit" button. A well-designed platform should give you feedback as to whether the application was sent successfully or an error occurred during submission. Perhaps it should also tell you where you went wrong.
A complication for what? You aim to help the user find what they want but not to show off your prowess in design. More often, designers are tempted to add lots of complex/unique features to make their design stand out among the rest. While this is not bad, remember the whole design is all about the user and not you as a designer. Avoid clutter or over-decoration and use the less-in-more approach. Do not put everything on the same page. If it is a PDF solution website, put a few icons that represent upload, convert, edit, and maybe protect your PDF. Other things like crop, arrange, add page numbers, and comment can be the secondary menu for edit. This way, the main interface looks simple and neat.
7. Follow Standard
Inventing new things is okay but do you know the user response? While you might be tempted to think a new way of doing things can excite users, don't be surprised if the exact opposite happens. Remember users are used to recognizable icons. For example, the Home icon often resembles a house, a message icon an envelope, and a question mark for help among others. So if you create your new icons, the users get confused and don't have time to think about what they actually mean.
8. Keep Users free and in Control
One very important thing when doing a design is to remember that users require freedom and control for whatever transactions they are carrying out. A user should not feel being compelled/forced to confirm transactions. They should decide whether to proceed, go back, or terminate altogether. Users should not feel confined or restricted. This can be approached in terms of context and permission. For context, icons related to what the user might do should be conveniently placed. For example, if a user is in the last process of a product purchase, buttons like cancel, submit, or continue later should be provided there. The user should not struggle to find the "cancel" or "continue later" buttons. Also, the UX design should give users the freedom to revert the action they take. For example, you can add the redo and undo buttons.
In as much as appealing design is important, nothing beats usability. Designers should make sure that every single icon/button/snippet in the design has a purpose. Having prominent buttons and maintaining a minimalist design is better than having cluttered designs with many unnecessary elements. Provided you have what is necessary to achieve the functionality and attract the user, you are trudging the right UX design lane. You can conduct some usability tests to rate your design usability.
10. Confirm Before Committing
Users cannot be perfect. They too are human and make mistakes. More often, they click the wrong buttons and trigger the wrong commands that may cost them. Take for example a child accidentally authorizes and pays for a product without the consent of the parent. The parent will have to go through the refund process and this can prove tiresome hence making the parent hate the app/website. This can be avoided by adding a confirmation dialog box before authorizing sensitive transactions. For example, if you want to purchase a product, a pop-up window asking you to confirm whether you want to buy the selected product should pop-up. Another example is if you want to delete a file or anything important on a website/app. Here, you should receive a pop-up asking you to confirm whether you really want to carry on with the erasure. If the first process was an accident then probably the confirmation won't happen and thus a costly mistake can be avoided with the help of a UX design.
Although the above UX design principles are not the only plausible principles, they represent a collection of top principles of good UX design. If you are a UX design beginner, just incorporate these principles in your design and be sure your product won't hit a snag in the market.