A successful application is the one that has a lasting impact on the user’s mind (UX) and creates an instant attraction to the user (UI) for getting glued.
In the last article, we talked about what is UI / UX, how it got evolved and key differences between both. In this article, we are going to talk about UI / UX Trends in 2020. We will be focusing on two things – why UI / UX is important and how we can make a better UI / UX for our application in 2020. If you haven’t read the previous article, you can experience it by clicking here.
UX, as we know, is all about the experience which a user gets by interacting with product/service. And the word experience is a mixture of cognitive processes and memory. The cognitive process stands for acquiring knowledge or experience through thoughts, experience or senses. In other words, it refers to our ability to take in information and transform, store, recover it, and put it to work. Combining cognitive process and memory refers to gaining the knowledge through what we are grasping from thoughts embedded in the application and memorizing it by having a lasting impact.
Reasons why an Application needs Efficient UI / UX
An efficient UI / UX requires thorough research and prior planning in order to understand the needs of users and solving their problems by the app.
- Enhanced Customer Satisfaction and Improved ROI
A great UX Flow and UI Design when combined provides customers with engaging content and easy navigation. When a customer is satisfied, he tends to recommend our app to others too which leads to an increase in customer base. Also, the customer tends to become loyal to our brand/service by becoming a recurring buyer and increases our ROI.
- Helps Understanding Audience
It is important to understand the needs of users before starting UI / UX. This helps in creating an application with a focus on the target audience which in turn will attract them. Also, UI / UX helps in segmenting the audience which is a crucial aspect when understanding what each audience wants. An app that understands it’s audience makes it easy for the business to convert prospective customers into loyal customers.
- Builds Brand
When customer satisfaction is achieved and our app is recommended by Word of Mouth, the customers become happy and happy customers help our product/service in becoming a brand as people tend to get involved with brands that make them happy. They will be willing to help the business by pointing out what is required in the app and what is not, hence, making a roadmap for the future development of the app. It also increases the credibility of our business due to good relations with customers and as a result, it helps in growth in business value and brand.
- Saves Time and Money
Investment in a great UI / UX ensures that our clients will find minimal problems with the application. Also, when customers tell what should be included in the app and what should not be, then our research costs to satisfy customers go down and we can focus on developing the particular features in the matter. Furthermore, a stable product need not have frequent updates and helps in saving time and money which can be allocated to either marketing / another aspect of the business.
Making a Better UI / UX in 2020
Now, when we have talked about why we need efficient UI / UX, let’s talk about how to achieve that.
The most successful applications are the ones that are easy to use and engaging. Users prefer an app that is user-friendly and visually appealing at any time rather than an app that is not so user-friendly and less attractive.
When a user starts getting a realistic feel through the app and feels connected, then we can say that we have achieved in developing a great app. It also helps the user in navigating through a continuous flow of valuable information.
There are a few important points that should be kept in mind when working on UI / UX.
- Retain Uniformity
It is important that the app/product we are making is consistent across all platforms. It helps in getting users familiarised with the app and easy for them to interact.
- Simple Design
For enhanced user interest, it is crucial to provide exceptional services with minimal input and a clean design for easy navigability and accessibility. It increases usability and user loyalty.
- Focus on Target Audience
A good UI / UX is successful when it is able to get a hold of its target audience by focusing on their needs. The user tends to go away when there is no value add for them. A few important elements are to do market research, understanding the audience, their emotions, behavior, and needs.
- Using Adaptive / Responsive UI Design
The use of adaptive/responsive design is a must when developing an application. It enables the user to get a great experience irrespective of the device/platform they are using. It is important that our application is equally accessible on desktop, tablet, and mobile.
- Iteration of UI Designs
Iterating helps in getting the user’s attention by making the app more appealing and engaging. Also, whenever a user sees a new iteration in the application, he tends to navigate to that area to see What’s New over there.
Wireframing is all about checking the look, usability, and features before introducing it to the market and even before development. It helps in removing the areas that are not habitable for the user.
- Good Loading Speed
Speed is an essential part of any application as users want to save time and therefore prefer to have an application with shorter loading spans. Ideally, a good application should load and behave in such a way that the user is not able to find time to move to other applications.
- Usage of Standard Elements
To increase customer confidence and familiarity, it is important to use standard symbols, colors, buttons, and icons, wherever possible. By this, we not only improve the user’s familiarity but also reduce our costs by including help guides for the user.
In addition to appearance, loading, it is evident that the application is interactive with the user. Better interactivity helps in easy navigation. Some key elements of better interaction are the usage of fewer colors, better and clear icons, location. Too many colors reduce the visual appeal of the application.
- Include Feedback and Response Time
Feedback time enables the customer to interact with the app upon completion of the desired task. It is important to gather user feedback about the app as it enables us to know the improvement areas.
Response time is focused on how long the application takes when the user performs a particular action. The ideal time is between 1 to 10 seconds.
- User Assistance and Help
User assistance and help allow users to navigate easily throughout the app. This should get triggered when the user gets stuck or when something unexpected occurs. It helps the user in knowing what to do next which in turn enhances trust.
- Forgiving Interphase
Users can make mistakes while using the app. It is inevitable. Therefore, it is important that the app should forgive interphase which can save users from errors than can be costly. A most common example is the undo icon so that the user can go back to where he was and issue a new command.
Also, for a better UX, there is an approach known as the Six Circles Approach designed by James Kelway.
The six circles approach to divide the UX into six different circle rings as depicted below.
Now, let’s see briefly what the six circles are about. We will be discussing in detail about them in some other article.
It is part of UX, but if we talk about persuasion, it tends to go beyond UX and traditional usability. It talks about understanding the people’s behavior and decision making which is mostly influenced by emotions and based on the information perceived we act to make a design that compels user interactions. This part of the Six Circles Framework is more inclined towards psychology and social science.
A better understanding of why we behave in certain ways is integral to designing a good experience. This step is more concerned about the observations and disciplines beyond UX. Similar to persuasion, this step is also inclined towards psychology and social science.
- Visual Design
This step is what forms the UI of an application. In this, like UX, we tend to consider the effects of illustrations, photography, typography, space, layouts, color, etc. on the usability and the aesthetical appeal of the app. A successful visual design is the one that keeps content as a central element to a page, enhances it by engaging users and finally, helping to build user’s trust and interest in product/service.
Usability is a crucial aspect of UX for which Peter Morville has made the Usability Honeycomb which we discussed in this article. In addition to Usability Honeycomb, this part of UX Circle also talks about how increasing flexibility decreases usability, performance load balancing, navigability, simplicity, forgiveness.
This step talks about how the user should interact with the product/service and how the interaction should be as easy as possible for improved usability. For example, reducing clutter and showing what is important to use to make a decision. Another example can be showing users alerts/popup/confirmation dialog/errors/ask for forgiveness in case of any event. It helps in making the user feel more confident, secure and eager to explore.
The content being a central part of any product/service should be appealing enough to the user to interact. Content does not mean the text written. It can be the features of your product/service/application provides. It is a globally accepted principle that users will use 20% of the product 80% of the time which makes it a good practice to always focus on the 20% more than any other area. It is also a good habit to present the content as a story to users so that they get glued to it.
Solving problems of users will inevitably solve business problems. The solution of user problems lies in user-centric design which can be solved through UX and enhanced through UI. It is important for us to do research on what will make our app useful, user-centric and attractive.