By Olga Shevchenko, Art Director @ Vintage and jury member @ Awwwards
User Interface and User Experience are tightly connected in their common attempt to create a digital marvel that would take the user’s breath away. However, many UI designers lack the UX perspective in their work, which results in interface flaws being dragged through multiple production stages.
Here is the shortlist of crucial things about User Experience, which all UI designers must keep in mind.
- UX is logical. It is not a black & white coloring book you have to decorate. A UX prototype is based on a tremendous amount of research and analytics: use cases, personas, behavior scenarios etc. Understanding this logic even on a basic level will help a UI designer avoid littering the concept with unnecessary gimmicks.
- Know the UX stylistic elements and never confuse them. Buttons, tabs, menus, drop-downs and pop-ups have to be in the right place at the right time. Trying to play with them, shuffle them and trade their places will result in the final website being even less comprehensive than the prototype. Nobody wants that – neither you, nor your client.
- Understand the ways-in and ways-out of each page. Focal pages have to be accessible intuitively by several entrances. Auxiliary pages must only be prompted when absolutely necessary.
- Understand the project’s target audience. While this seems obvious enough, many UI designers forget that UX focuses on TA-based research. Young moms will have different clicking habits then 40-year-old bikers. A project’s UX will rarely match your own online behavior, but you must stay strictly within its canvas in order to achieve its goals.
- Be able to enhance a UX concept with proper UI. A prototype is a skeleton of your project, but no one can tell a person’s body shape based on their skeleton. Prompts and action signals must be appealing to the website’s TA, and it is a UI designer’s job to make them such.
- Make sure to follow the visual hierarchy. A nicely drawn poster all across the user’s monitor looks pretty, but it must be clear to the user what to do with it. Place your UI blocks according to the level of their importance.
- Keep screen resolutions in mind. You are probably working on a neat high definition monitor with impeccable saturation and pinpoint color rendering. Most users will not be as lucky. Test your UI solution on various displays, from mobile to 1080i, to make sure the website looks marvelous on every screen.
- Unify your UI patterns. All similar objects should look alike to the user. The website is not a puzzle, and the user must have a clear understanding of which element does what.
- Don’t fly too high with fonts. A strive for an interesting and freshly-looking font is totally understandable. But it should not be put on the altar of readability and user comprehension. Clickable words and phrases have to portray exactly what they are saying.
- And, finally, talk to the UX designers. Do not be afraid or ashamed to inquire about the meaning of elements that you did not understand. Each element in the UX has its purpose, so team up with your UX colleague and achieve that purpose together.
Hopefully, these little tips will help you reach the brilliant synergy between User Experience and User Interface in your company, and allow you to produce works of wonder, worthy of highest prizes.