Our User Interface (UI) Design methods focuses on anticipating what users might need to do and ensuring that the interface has elements that are easy to access, understand, and use to facilitate those actions. UI brings together concepts from interaction design, visual design, and information architecture.
We have found that users the world over, have become familiar with interface elements acting in a certain way, so as a response to this reality, we try to be consistent and predictable in our choices with regards to web page layout. Doing so has enabled us to be successful with task completion, efficiency, and satisfaction.
Interface elements include but are not limited to:
- Input Controls: buttons, text fields, checkboxes, radio buttons, dropdown lists, list boxes, toggles, date field
- Navigational Components: breadcrumb, slider, search field, pagination, slider, tags, icons
- Informational Components: tooltips, icons, progress bar, notifications, message boxes, modal windows
- Containers: accordion
We are also well aware that there are times when multiple elements might be appropriate for displaying content. When this happens, it’s important to consider the trade-offs. For example, sometimes elements that can help save you space, put more of a burden on the user mentally by forcing them to guess what is within the dropdown or what the element might be.
Everything stems from knowing your users, including understanding their goals, skills, preferences, and tendencies. Once you know about your user, make sure to consider the following when designing your interface:
- Interface Simplicity
The best interfaces are almost invisible to the user. They avoid unnecessary elements and are clear in the language they use on labels and in messaging.
- Consistency and the use of common UI elements
By using common elements in our User Interfaces, users feel more comfortable and are able to get things done more quickly. We also believe that it is also important to create patterns in language, layout and design throughout the site to help facilitate efficiency. Over the years, we have picked up the fact that once a user learns how to do something, they should be able to transfer that skill to other parts of the site.
- Purposeful page layout
In our design, we painstakingly consider the spatial relationships between items on the page and structure the page based on importance. Careful placement of items can help draw attention to the most important pieces of information and can aid scanning and readability.
- Strategic use of colour and textures
This assists us in our quest to direct attention toward or redirect attention away from items using color, light, contrast, and texture to our client’s advantage.
- The use of typography to create hierarchy and clarity
We carefully consider how we use the different and wide array of typeface at our disposal. Different sizes, fonts, and arrangement of the text to help increase scan-ability, legibility and readability.
- Optimisation of system communication channels
Our forms, sub-systems and systems always inform our users of either location, actions, changes in state, or errors. We have discovered that the use of various UI elements to communicate status and, if necessary, next steps can reduce frustration for the user.