Are perfect designs even possible? Can one Product design actually satisfy everyone?
It’s quite interesting when you see some designers dream of achieving perfection with their product design, one that will satisfy everyone and at the end of the day ends up with one that barely 50% of their users approve of.
Well, you can’t blame them sometimes, satisfying everyone can be one heck of a task.
As much as in reality, it seems largely impossible to have a 100% perfect product design, one that satisfies every single user, there are some principles that if strictly adhered to, will guarantee you near-perfect UI/UX designs. These UX design principles were developed by thorough study, experimenting, and design experiences over the years. It is the cream of designing fraternity.
Follow closely as we explore these principles to ensure your website is alluring to a large chunk of your users.
1. Principle 1: Make it Easy (Clear and minimalist website UX)
2. Principle 2: Have a great, clear, and prioritized page design
3. Principle 3: Minimize input and commitment from the user
4. Principle 4: Instructions and Error tolerant forms
5. Principle 5: Optimize for diverse mobile users. (The Golden Ratio)
Let's begin with,
I. Principle 1: Make it Easy (Clear and minimalist website UX)
- Prove your app’s value by giving users what they want right away.
Users of today are presented with a whole lot of options. When you don't immediately offer them what they want exactly, they’ll get pissed off and leave for other options. So the first and most important principle of UX design is to Ensure a great first impression once they open your website by offering them exactly what solution your website provides.
Let users do what they want to do, they came on board for a specific task, and all other exegeses (like getting their full data, adverts, promo, etc.) can be done later.
- Break down big tasks into really easy steps
Cognitive load measures the mental effort needed to complete a task. Minimize the cognitive load of using your app so that users can navigate step-by-step. They shouldn’t view it as a chore that needs to be done.
Let’s take a checkout process as an example: you could ask users for information all at once, but they’ll find it easier to fill in information over multiple steps: their shipping address, billing information, credit card information, etc.
- Tell the user exactly what they need to do
Your design should make it clear what the user needs to do. If you suspect that an integral part of your layout may confuse your users, use visual aids to explain what needs to be done. For instance, you can use a tooltip or a caption to provide instructions.
II. Principle 2: Have a great, clear, and prioritized page design
- Design hierarchy
Most users won’t thoroughly read through all the contents on each website page, so ensure you point them to the most important information or element on your webpage. Utilize key principles, like size, color, contrast, alignment, repetition, and brightness, to emphasize certain characteristics of the UX design.
- Label products descriptively
Make sure the names you choose for products are descriptive and appealing. For instance, a customer might find it hard to see the difference between “standard shipping” and “regular shipping”. Pick labels that showcase the differences between the two options.
You can use techniques like Card Sorting to get the feel of customers’ mental models.
- F pattern vs. Z pattern
Most users aren’t going to read text from start to finish. They are more likely to scan multiple paragraphs of text. The first few words of the opening paragraphs get the most attention. That’s where you should place your most important messages to ensure that users don’t miss them. This scanning behavior is described as an F pattern.
Users scan visual content in a Z-shaped pattern. Place your most important visuals in the areas where they are most likely to be seen by the users, following the Z-shape pattern on your web pages.
III. Principle 3: Minimize input and commitment from the user
- Don’t ask for set-up information upfront
Users see your app as a solution. Most people are focused on solving their problems. Don’t bother them with questions, account registrations, or signup forms right away.
Let users use your app freely until it’s absolutely critical to log in, give a credit card, or whatever the action may be. For example, Medium allows its users to enjoy a limited number of high-quality articles before asking them to create an account and subscribe.
- Prefill as much data as possible
Instead of asking users to write down their location, ask them to share their location and use a smart tool to fill in their address based on GPS data. You can pre-select an option that is relevant to a particular geographical location.
For example, if we are asking for currency or if they’re looking for store locations near them, requesting location permission allows us to guess the most appropriate selection.
- Use smart defaults
You can pre-select an option that is specific to an individual user. For example, if our logged-in user frequently orders Vietnamese food, we can pre-select that cuisine for them and show them relevant options to that selection. The smarter our inputs can be, the better the experience for our users.
You can use Type-ahead. It’s useful for long lists because it doesn’t require the user to scroll through all the options to find the one they need. They just type the first letter and options relevant will pop up from the long list.
IV. Principle 4: Instructions and Error tolerant forms
- Error tolerant forms
Your website UX should be as error-tolerant as possible. This is an important UX principle because your users aren’t robots and everyone can make errors, especially when in a hurry. To increase efficiency, you should help your users correct any systematic error they make as soon as possible.
Sticking to the UX principle of error tolerance, you could retain the correct information in all other fields while highlighting the field with erroneous data. You could further help the user by providing some clear inline instructions, such as “please enter a valid email address”, etc.
- Useful 404 pages (Broken pages shouldn’t break user’s hearts)
A helpful 404-page design is something that every single website out there should have. While it’s true that we should do everything in our power to ensure that users don’t land on this page, the truth is you can’t always prevent it, no matter how hard you try.
To prevent frustration and to keep users on your site, your 404 page should provide as much help as possible to guide the user to where they need to be. Providing a bit of entertainment at this stage is optional but highly recommended to earn engagement points.
V. Principle 5: Optimize for diverse mobile users. (The Golden Ratio)
- Optimized for various screen sizes
A responsive design is the best option if you want to make sure it will show your website in a mobile-friendly way, doesn’t matter which device or screen size your users use. Especially when your company reaches out to a larger target group, focus on this design.
However, if you focus on one special target group which uses mostly one type of device and screen size, the adaptive design will be easier to make an option for you. With this, you can make sure that your personal website looks good or minimally acceptable on different devices.
- The Golden ratio
The Golden Ratio is one of the most fundamental elements of aesthetics. It says that the designs that use the golden ratio proportions turn out to be naturally aesthetic. Ancient Greek structures like the Parthenon use this magical ratio and stand the test of time and admirers.
Interestingly Twitter seems to have incorporated this principle in its web design, and thus we see the below depiction: Twitter designs have a reason they look so. The layout width is 960 pixels, and when we divide that by the golden rule number 1.618, which is approximately 593 pixels. So the width of your content area should be 593 pixels with the sides 367 pixels. For a standard website height of 768 pixels, it would be 768/1.618, approximately 475 pixels, and it goes on.
To wrap it all up,
UX design is all about creating things that people can truly enjoy and rely on. It’s about understanding who you’re designing for and listening to what users tell you, while still innovating and using plenty of creativity.
Hopefully, you’re now well suited to embark on your own adventure in the world of UX design! If you are in need of an external team of professionals to be your guide or help with some other aspects of UX design, we would be just around the corner.
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