10 rules for a good user interface
1. Make everything the user needs easily accessible
If the user cannot find what is needed, he will abandon your software. Tabs make the interface more accessible. Shortcuts and tooltips too.
For example, we decided to use tabs to organize the Divi WordPress theme. In it, all the tools are located directly in the designer and are divided into categories.
Toolbars are also available. In WordPress, the administration panel allows you to quickly go to the post editor, theme customizer, plugins, etc.
Another example is the Help / Support / Contacts sections. The “Help” or “Contact Support” button should always be available to users. This is why you need to place the help buttons at the top.
2. Be consistent
You need to be consistent in the placement of functions in the user interface. In this case, the user interface should work and look the same in all sections of the site.
Do not place the menu at the top of one page and at the bottom of another. Do not rearrange the menu items each time it loads. If you place a contact form under blog posts, do not hide it on other pages of the site.
The design should be consistent in all publications of the resource. Do not change the font of the headings and content on different pages.
The principle of least surprise is that if the user is surprised at how something works … redo it so that it becomes intuitive.
You also need to make sure that the user interface matches the main platform. For example, iOS apps do not work as they do for Android. Desktop sites have different requirements from mobile resources.
3. Be extremely clear
Users should clearly understand how to access this or that functionality. Following this principle implies refinement of the UX. This increases viewing time and reduces bounce rates.
One way to achieve clarity is to move from one step to another on different pages. Offer users the opportunity to go from the product page to the basket, the checkout page, payment page, confirmation page. This technique is practiced by Amazon.
Users will know exactly where they are, eliminating uncertainty. This is especially important for mobile users, since the screen space on their devices is limited.
4. Provide feedback
Users must understand what is happening. If they press a button, indicate that the button has been pressed. You can do this in several ways. For example, animate a button. Download icons (e.g. MacOS Rainbow Wheel) provide feedback: users understand that you are working on their request.
If you allow users to upload files, indicate the time remaining until the download is complete. Add a pop-up or modal window that tells you that their action was successful.
5. Use recognition rather than memorization
First of all, optimize the interface so that every part of it is intuitive. This can be done using the icons. People get used to the icons denoting specific functionality.
This can also be done with virtual tours that allow you to direct users. They recognize the process as soon as the first modal window appears.
You can also implement this using messages. We do this with simple tooltips. Even if someone does not remember what this or that icon does, we describe its function to the user.
6. Select an interaction model
The worst thing is to try to open the door that opens in the opposite direction. Especially when the previous door opened upon itself. The designer of this building made the user interface inconsistent, so you have no idea how to open the door correctly.
There may be a button on the site, which is not one, but you will still wait for the result from clicking it. And all because the designers did not think out a model of interaction with the product.
On mobile devices, this can be misleading. Look at Snapchat. Almost every single action is performed, including access to settings and profile.
Snapchat chose a mechanism for interacting with the product, and developed a user interface based on it. And not vice versa.
When developing a user interface, select the main tools for interaction: menus, touches, icons, gestures, or something else. Alexa and Siri use voice input as their primary interface. The way they provide information and perform tasks is based on this approach. Therefore, the user intuitively understands what to do.
7. Follow design standards
An old saying goes: don’t fix what works. There really is no need to change something if the standard works. You do not want to go against what users expect?