What Makes Good UI Design and How to Implement It

UI Design

By Emily Rollwitz – Content Marketing Executive, Global App Testing

Did you know that the average eCommerce site has 31 preventable issues on the way to checkout? 

Consider the equivalent in a bricks-and-mortar shop: between selecting the item you wish to buy and walking away with your purchase, you encounter 31 problems. Perhaps the shop is dirty, and items are hard to find. Perhaps the queue is long, or the card reader won’t work.

Are you likely to carry on with your purchase, or walk out? With an average eCommerce cart abandonment rate of over 69%, you wouldn’t be alone if you chose to shop elsewhere.

Just because retail is moving online doesn’t mean that customer experience matters any less. Every aspect of your site or app, from its visual appeal to ease of use, is critical in building and retaining a loyal customer base.

This is where user interface (UI) design comes in. User interface refers to the place where humans and machine processes interact. UI designers strive to make this place as customer-centric as possible, building core design strategies around usability, aesthetics, and the particular needs of a brand’s target audience.

UI design can make your eCommerce site the digital equivalent of a high-end boutique, captivating customers with a streamlined and attractive journey to conversion. Read on to learn more about great UI design, and how to implement it on your site.

 

What is UI Design?

UI design refers to the style, aesthetic, and usability of a technological experience. Take a mobile phone, for example, everything from the shape and texture of the object itself to the features and apps when you switch it on are designed strategically to increase the ease and pleasure of use.

Designers need to ensure that the entire experience is aesthetically united in both form and function. For example, a sleek and futuristic-looking phone needs a graphic style to match. Good design also anticipates the needs of users to create an entire experience that’s aligned to their needs and expectations.

These principles exist in both the physical and digital spaces, from the feel of the buttons to the colours and fonts, all the way to custom apps development to make applications for particular models. There is a deep-rooted psychology to UI, and designers need to understand what emotions different design choices will elicit, as well as how to visually grab attention or soothe frustration.

It can help to think of UI as a user’s environment guiding them along their journey. There is usually an end goal to UI design, such as a completed purchase or newsletter signup. Designers need to create a purposeful and beautiful environment that gently and efficiently moves users toward that goal. 

If any individual element of the experience is jarring, difficult to use, or out of place, the spell could be broken and the user could end their journey early. Therefore, designers need to draw from elements of art, psychology, and an understanding of consumer expectations to avoid pain points and increase overall customer satisfaction.

 

What’s the Difference Between UI and UX?

You may see the two terms used interchangeably, and indeed they are closely linked processes driven by the same customer-centricity. 

However, while UI focuses primarily on the form, UX focuses on the function. For example, while UI designers are responsible for the logo, colours, images, and content of a webpage, UX designers make sure the transitions between pages, such as drop-down menus, forms, and checkout processes are all smooth and in line with expectations.

Neither can work without the other. Imagine a stunningly beautiful website that’s impossible to navigate, or a perfectly functional website without branding, imagery, or visual feedback. Both experiences will fail to meet customer needs and put them off completing their purchases. When UI and UX work together, however, the experience becomes a fluid and enjoyable whole.

 

How Does Good UI Benefit Business?

While some see UI as an afterthought, successful professionals understand that good UI is essential. In fact, 73% of professionals rate user experience as very important for business success. Here are just a few ways that UI design can revolutionise your business:

 

Customer Satisfaction

With the rise of eCommerce offering buyers greater variety every year, the market is highly competitive and businesses must pay attention to customers’ needs and expectations. As well as keeping a close eye on the trends that millennial buyers follow, marketers need to ensure that these users’ expectations are exceeded when it comes to a digital experience.

Good UI increases customer engagement and retention, making them happy to be associated with your brand on an ongoing basis. It also makes customers more likely to recommend their buying experience to friends and followers, bringing new customers onboard without costing your business a penny.

 

Audience Targeting

UI and UX designers conduct thorough market research before conceptualising new interfaces, ensuring that the finished product meets needs head-on. 

This kind of research should be critical in informing every area of your business, from the design of the app or eCommerce site itself to your marketing, product design, and even your brand mission.

UI acts as a foundation for ensuring that every area of your mission is aligned to the same goals, values, and audience personas.

 

Brand Identity

Do you want your brand to be associated with a halfhearted attempt or a unique and enjoyable experience? UI is a key part of your brand identity, allowing you to practice the values your marketing preaches. 

Are you keen for customers to see you as a glamorous guru? Make sure your site design is slick and stylish. Would you prefer to be viewed as a caring everyman? Focus on a simple and accessible user journey.

A consistent brand image boosts engagement and discoverability, directly increasing customer awareness.

 

Personalisation

Personalised content is a marketing trend that’s not going anywhere, with many eCommerce sites offering personalised recommendations and offers. 71% of customers expect a personalised experience – and this is where UI comes in.

Based on meticulously researched audience personas and in-depth machine learning, well-designed UI can deliver relevant content to the right users. These recommendations make customers feel seen and heard while attracting them to new products and resulting in a larger average order value (AOV).

 

How to Implement Good UI Design

Good UI design for eCommerce is like bluetooth headsets for calls: it’s convenient, connected, and intuitive to use. So much so that users shouldn’t notice it. Poor UI, however, is immediately noticeable, as it negatively affects a user’s relationship with your brand.

Let’s examine how you can create a user interface that answers customers’ needs and keeps them coming back for more.

 

Work With Purpose

Good UI is all about guiding the user journey, and it’s important to think of the design process as a journey, too. Your decisions all need to be united by a singular direction, with functionality as a guiding principle.

Each time you seek to add an element to a page or change a font, ask yourself how this change will affect the overall journey of the site. Will it progress the user journey, or simply add to a sense of cognitive overload?

 

Prioritise Clarity and Consistency

Your customers need to be able to navigate your platform comfortably and confidently. Help users feel that they’re in control of their browsing experience by keeping your pages clean and simple, only adding content that adds value to their experience.

Keep colours, fonts, and formatting identical on each page to eliminate confusion and establish visual branding. Only the core information ought to change on each page, helping users maintain familiarity with where menus, search bars, and calls to action are placed.

 

Guide the Eye

Good design draws the eye to the most important or meaningful information. Therefore, each page needs to be designed around a hierarchy of importance. Large and bold typefaces convey key information, so focus on a clear structure of headings and subheadings.

Want your customers to view a particular product or use your member referral program? Ensure calls to action stand out from the rest of the page by creating consistent visual cues such as a change in font style or colour, or a block background colour. 

However, be careful not to add too many conflicting visual cues, as these could disrupt your messaging and make the space look chaotic.

 

Think Mobile

The amount spent on eCommerce purchases by US mobile users is predicted to grow from $128.4 billion in 2019 to $553.28 billion by 2024, and US consumers are far from alone. This makes it more important than ever to implement a responsive design that performs as well via mobile as it does on a desktop.

Test your mobile interactivity with phone performance apps and ensure your site is engaging to users across devices.

 

Test for Usability

Usability testing is a critical aspect of UI design, allowing you to experience the site or app from the perspective of a customer. Usability is often described in terms of friendliness. A user-friendly site is organised so that customers’ questions are quickly answered, with processes to help guide them to the result they seek.

User-friendliness is directly linked to customer happiness, so UI designers need to create wireframes regularly to test for usability and features.

 

Conclusion

From graphic design to firewall monitoring, countless aspects go into a positive browsing experience. UI design is one of these, ensuring that customers can access the products or information they need quickly and confidently.

Create a customer experience that rivals not only your competition but the very best brick-and-mortar stores by keeping customer needs at the heart of your UI design. Invest in designers and testers who can build clear, consistent, and convenient interfaces that will effortlessly guide your customers to conversion.

Akeela Zahair
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