25 Ways To Identify A Good User Interface Design Or How To Find A Good Designer By His Portfolio
A good Digital Startup starts with the user interface design. After all, the project, deliberately and responsibly viewed by a specialist, is doomed to success in the truest sense of the word. A good user interface has a high conversion, it is easy to use and implement. That is, it is good both for business and for people using it.
Here are 25 points allowing to understand how professionally the interface design for your product or Startup was developed, and if redesign or improvement is needed.
So, throughout the design process – when planning, designing, reviewing – keep to the following rules:
1. Create not a design, but a message for your audience
Don’t get distracted by the external aesthetics of an object or image. If you can’t read the story or the product interface user has doubts about what the designer meant, such design is bad. Colors, shapes, fonts should exalt one another and create a consistent message.
Design may look cool, but poorly perform its task: namely, acting as a communication tool. One of the most difficult tasks in web-design is to balance shape and function. The product interface should be pleasing, but at the same time effectively convey the message. When the designer forgets about the message and focuses only on the appearance of the design, the project becomes overcrowded: too elaborated graphic design distracts, steals the show.
2. Brevity is one of the basic requirements for good design
The information field is overbearing today. Often we do not have time to delve into their essence, we read the headlines, «scan» information. The more interference, the more difficult it is for the user to solve his problem. While a good user interface design should simplify the solution thereof. Difficult texts or uncomfortably designed product interface pages usually become interferences.
In order to convey the necessary information to the user, all the fat and bloat should be cut away from the layouts. A true professional in the field of user interface design will never sacrifice the ease of reading and convenience of the product to its appearance. This applies to both text and graphic information. One of the main skills of the designer is to hack away at the unessential. The designer looks at every detail of the composition in terms of how it supports all the other parts of the work. If doubts are cast upon, the element is removed. It is important to remember that all forms of visual expression are checked: color, typographics, graphic elements, and geometry.
3. Gradual presentation of information as an indicator of the design taking care of the user
Gradual disclosure protects the interface user from the abundance of secondary information. The information is shown portionwise in the high-quality design of the user interface. This is usually accompanied by any extension or a suitable animation. A large number of fields can frighten the user off, so you need to gradually show him the fields that are needed at the moment.
4. Good design is inconspicuous
Products performing certain work to achieve a goal are tools. Computer is a tool, telephone is a tool and even airplane ticket is a tool. These are neither pieces of decor nor works of art. Therefore, they should be neutral and measured to give the users an opportunity for self-expression.
5. Utility as one of the distinctive features of professional design
It’s as simple as that: if a product is purchased for use, it should meet not only functional but also psychological and aesthetical criteria. The correct design emphasizes the usefulness of the product ignoring anything that might distract from it.
6. Compliance of the product design to the target audience
The interface design should correspond to its specialization, expectations and preferences of the product target users. Clear focus on the end user, his expectations of the design.
7. The role of honesty in the user interface design process
Good design is honest. Unfortunately, even the most experienced designers sometimes forget about this rule. Design does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it actually is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer through promises that cannot be fulfilled. This is not only the basis of this design, this is the basis of honest marketing, as well.
8. Modular grid is an important attribute of good product interface design
Modular grid is the interface layout skeleton of the future digital product. It brings order, integrity and connection of all its parts to the design, allows to rationally organize any graphic space, whether it is a blank, product interface or website interface or a magazine page.
Get a good look at the interface elements. If the designer is a professional, he will never allow blocks sliding apart and non-aligned elements.
The essence of the website or user interface elements alignment is as follows: no element can be placed on the page for no special reason. Fonts, images, icons and other elements should be aligned relative to each other and be in harmony.
In order to help you to better understand what is the issue, here are some examples with an alignment principle observed.
9. Easy to navigate
Site navigation should not cause difficulties. If graphic buttons are used, they should be duplicated with text links, as some users disable the image viewing function in the browser.
10. Pyramid principle or visual hierarchy role in the interface design
It is known that the human eye moves from the largest, brightest and most complex forms to simpler and unsaturated in color elements. A good professional in the field of design realizes this and acts as a guide for the product interface user. He sets the desired moving sequence along the visual story, which he is trying to tell by means of design.
In a good hierarchy, important elements are separated from less important ones. Hierarchy is built through alignment, proximity, color, indentures, font size, element size, etc. Properly positioned elements direct the user’s attention, keeping it where is needed, and generally increase readability. As a result, the user will spend a little more time on the page and learn more about the product.
11. Grouping Principle
It consists in the fact that all elements that should be thematically close, are grouped together:
• headings are close to subheadings;
• subheadings are next to the main text;
• pictures related to the main text are side by side, as well (for example, the picture itself is a background sheet for the text).
Grouping is the layout of blocks (or screens), in each of which the user must either perform a target action or obtain a certain portion of information. It’s like a paragraph in a sentence = an isolated text unit.
12. Air and space in user interface design
Availability of free space plays an important role in design of the user interface. In order to draw attention to the information, it should be cut through the clutter. You can consider different options – bright colors, large font, specific graphical elements. However, a true professional in the field of user interface design knows that for all this to work, you should leave free space around each block of information. The more air around the element, the higher its importance to the user. In turn, by means of increasing or decreasing space between elements you can affect the logical binding between them.
The concept of white space in the design can be summarized by ensuring each element has enough free space. This can be achieved by using fields, empty space around and between elements, large line spacing, and a host of other things. If you leave too little white space, the design will seem overcrowded. If the white space is too much, the elements proximity effect will disappear, interconnections between them will be lost. Design, in which balance between empty and filled space is maintained, not only looks pleasing but is also easier to be perceived.
13. Font as an important UI design element
If your designer is a professional, fonts in your design will balance the composition and be a counterweight to the rest of the objects.
Fonts should not be disregarded. In fact, any font itself is a complete design object. Almost any good font is the result of experienced designers’ hard work, and in a professional environment, there is an opinion that fonts development is the top of the design art.
In the interface created by a good designer, fonts balance the composition and are a counterweight to the rest of the objects.
14. Elements requiring a larger size in UI design of the product interface
Links, forms and buttons are easier to click when they are larger. According to the Fitts’ law, the further away and the smaller the element is, the harder it is to click. Therefore, in a well-designed design, forms, input fields, calls for action are always extended. Also, in some cases, you can leave the size of the element unchanged by means of increasing the area to clicking on which it responds.
15. Color and patterns of its selection in the course of UI design creating
Color has a profound subconscious impact on the product interface user. It can evoke the required emotions, playing an oversize role in our perception of a particular design. It is important to consider the mood brought to the design by each color. However, in addition to the mood of each separate color, it is also necessary to consider the color space as a whole.
Colors should be harmoniously mixed in the design. In quality product design, too flashy and too contrast colors are usually avoided and a large number of colors are not used. An expert in design always adheres to the general principles of color theory in color layout selection (complementary colors, split complementary colors, similar colors, triads).
16. The use of contrasts in Product UI design
Contrast is a universal tool to convey a wide range of emotions. Contrast can be conveyed through form, color, size, dynamics, and even meaning. Complex and simple, bright and not, large and small, static and dynamic − try different techniques to distinguish the essence from the general.
17. What is the Golden ratio or Rule of thirds?
Rule of thirds can be considered a simplified model of the Golden ratio.
Try to divide the entire visible area into three parts vertically and horizontally, and in addition to this, draw diagonals. Now place all important elements on the achieved lines or their intersections.
Do you feel the difference?
18. Semi-tones set the tone
The image should be well balanced in dark, medium and light tones. Do not be afraid of contrast of elements different in saturation and color temperature. Pay more attention to semi-tones leading attention from one splash of color to another.
19. Principle of repetition is an important part of UI design
A good user interface design is characterized by repetition of elements. A page can have several alternating blocks built in the same manner (this is particularly true for landing pages). They just have to be there. If web-design have no repeating set of elements, it indicates a low level of the designer’s qualification and creates a sense of chaos in the interface.
20. Multifunctional controls instead of multiple individual controls
Simplicity of the interface is associated with the ease of use. Too many controls disturb perception. The more elements, the more usability problems. One way to achieve more with less effort is to create multifunctional controls. For example, to combine a search term box with a filter mechanism, etc.
21. Durability is the main feature of good design
Good design is not intent on being fashionable and therefore never seems out of date. Unlike fashionable design, it has been used for many years. Good design serves long and, unlike fashion design, right design exists for many years even now.
22. Forethought as a key to the product interface success
Nothing should be accidental or left up to chance. Attention and accuracy in the design process show respect for the user.
23. Accuracy is a characteristic value of a designer who loves his work
Let’s imagine you are evaluating the designer’s layout and can not understand what is confusing you. Get a good look at the details. Lack of alignment, different line spacings in the text, low-quality pictures and many other small details − all these are the signs of dirty, sloppy design.
Seeing this in the portfolio do not waste time, look for another designer. With such performers, it makes no sense to talk about the combination of colors, fonts selection and prioritizing in UI design. Your business is no place for experiment and training.
24. Convenience of information viewing
Website should be easy to view and look great on monitors of any size.
25. Display in all browsers
Website design should be well-displayed in any browser, as well as in different versions of one browser.
From this article it becomes obvious that good design is not only what is visible, not only appearance but also a combination of deliberate decisions made with care for the end user. The above items can help to recognize a really strong professional portfolio and easily distinguish it from the beautiful, but not functional amateur work.
This article can also help you evaluate your current user interface design and understand what aspects of it still need to be improved.
Visual perception forms our first impression of the brand or product and is a stimulus to continue communication or, vice versa, the reason not to come back to you anymore. Remember this when creating a visual representation of your business.