How to prioritize improving user experience
1. REDUCE CLICKS
For the sake of efficiency, reducing the number of clicks in UI is a good guiding principle. Reducing the time taken for a user to complete a task needs is important, especially for frequently repeated tasks.
Keyboard shortcuts should be considered whenever possible for products where frequent clicks result in fatigue — circumventing mouse clicks altogether. The exception would be when the cost of a mistaken click or action is high. In these scenarios, creating a confirmation or summary of the task would be helpful in preventing user mistakes.
Examples where confirmation/summary is relevant:
1. Transferring funds in your bank account
2. Completing online transactions
3. As a final step of a form flow
Confirmation dialogs are one way to prevent mistakes, use of them should be minimal especially when the action is recoverable.
2. VALUE VISUAL DESIGN
Good visual design provides value in the following ways:
– Raises user expectation for the product’s ease of use
– Raises ultimate value of what the user is willing to pay for the product
– Aids in the brand recognition of the product/communicating brand essence
– Provides consistency in design language
– Contributes to a user’s first impression and engagement of a product
Visual design is described as the use of imagery, color, shapes, typography, and form to enhance usability and improve the user experience. It is also a divisive topic among designers. While some see it as a final piece of prettiness and simply a cover over the rest of the UI, visual design plays a crucial role in a great design. It is the means of communication of information, through organization, color, size and other smaller details to create a cohesive impression on the user.
And first impressions count. Among a landscape of millions of similar products, something as small as a great app icon or distinctive style can and will make a difference. While good visual design may be dismissed as the final superfluous polish on a completed design, it needs to be taken in the consideration to be properly invested in rather than put aside.
3. FOLLOWED ESTABLISHED UI PATTERNS
Consistency for established UI patterns makes sense across products with similar uses. Whether this is a navigational UI, placement of UI or other habitual elements, it makes sense to follow established patterns rather than create new ones for the user to learn. Do consider what makes sense, and use patterns appropriately.
In the realm of mobile UX, do not replicate patterns from different platforms (ex. Android to iOS, etc.). As each platform has a distinct set of conventions and qualities and mixing the two sets up the user for misunderstandings of UI and interactions/UI behavior.
Simplicity is a balance between what is functional and what can be understood.
Simplicity is a good rule of thumb for designs as something that is easily understood is also generally easily used.
No matter how clever a design is, it is rendered useless if it fails to be understood.
Unnecessary complexity should be avoided and having product that is easy to understand and use, is certainly a benefit. However, it must not be at the expense of functionality.
5. ALLOW FOR MISTAKES
Good design is forgiving.
Actions taken by the user should be reversible and in the case, that they are not, the action should be guarded with a confirmation/summary to remind the user of their choice.
A preview mode can be one way to allow the user to see the results of the action before choosing it. An example of a recoverable action is the “Undo” button. It allows users to undo most of what they have done. Many browsers also open a user’s last session in the case of an accidental closed tab.
6. REDUCE CLUTTER
Information presented to the user should be easy to understand and given at the right amount. Think of the tale of Goldilocks as a reminder, you don’t want to show so little as to not give context to the design element but showing too much can be incomprehensible and overwhelming to a user.
Clutter exists in the form of wordiness, lack of white space, too many elements, unnecessary animation, lack of contrast or organization and more. Reduce such visual or interaction clutter for a better design.
7. LOWER BARRIERS TO USAGE
This can be referenced to onboarding or the perceived challenge of a task. If anything appears to difficult to tackle (especially for a user when they first encounter your product or a new feature), there is a high likelihood they will simply quit using it.
Lowering barriers to usage simply means that in the process of learning how to use your product, users to feel smart and competent.
Get users to the content/substance of your product is the best way for them to quickly get value our of what you are offering and progress toward adoption and retention.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to check out my design work if you’d like.
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