One of the most crucial aspects of a web product is its UI (User Interface) design. Every interaction that a user has with a web product is a part of its user interface. A good UI design is essential to a good user experience. When implemented well, users barely even notice the UI. However, when done poorly, users face difficulty getting past it to use a product efficiently.
Creating beautiful, logical, and sustainable UI takes time, effort, and an understanding of UI design principles. The prime focus of good UI relies on different visual elements like buttons, text, visuals, sliders, text entry fields, typography, and colors, including screen layout, transitions, interface animations, and every single micro-interaction.
There are many UI design principles and they usually intertwine with each other for better product decisions, consistency, and resonating with users. In this piece, let’s look at the five basic principles of good UI.
Color contrast is everything. A good color contrast benefits all users especially those with low contrast sensitivity.
Contrast directs to how elements in an interface stand out next to each other. A good contrast ratio also helps in prioritizing the important information and in guides users’ attention towards the most important part of a design.
Colors could be considered as a subset or element of the UI principle — contrast. The use of color is one of the most impactful aspects of UI design and end-user experience. It helps to invoke emotions and messages, which is why designers often resort to color psychology to get important messages across.
A good color palette is one that meets web accessibility guidelines and helps websites to provide an inclusive experience. The understanding of colors can be a challenge, but when used in the right context, colors can convey enhanced meaning and add value to web products.
A hierarchy is a system or organization that has many levels from the lowest to the highest and sometimes from the highest to the lowest. Setting up a hierarchy is how UI designers display the importance of elements that exist within the interface.
When a design has a variety of elements, then it is more likely to have one component or message that is communicated to the audience over other visual elements. As a result of which, more weightage is necessary to provide added stress on the component or message. This is achieved with the help of different methods such as enlargement or boldening of texts or placing them in a position that makes them easily visible in comparison to other information.
Patterns are a repetition of design elements that work together as a whole and are often referred to as the set standards of how specific elements are designed. They are recurring design solutions that provide uniformity, unique identity, and built-in intuitiveness to create a UI pattern.
Some of the most well-known components of UI design that deal with patterns are - dots, shapes, and lines.
Dots are often referred to as ‘points’ around marks. A dot is considered to be the building block of every element, such as lines shapes, and textures.
Shapes are confined by an actual or indicative line. Lines are the basis of shapes. Several UI components are made up of simple and easy shapes that are in turn formed from the basis of shapes and lines.
Lines are defined as continuous movements of a dot along the surface. Lines are of different types and can convey a variety of messages and emotions depending on the structure being used, such as - Thick lines for strength/emphasis and thin lines for delicacy/weakness.
Space is directly related to the proximity of the elements on a page when grouped, with regards to their position or characteristics. Often there are spaces in a design that do not contain any design elements in it, effectively leading to empty spaces or ‘negative’ and ‘white’ spaces.
However, unlike their negative connotation, white spaces serve an important purpose in design, because it gives the elements in the design room space to breathe. It also helps in highlighting specific aspects of a design and makes the elements easier to distinguish. Thus, typography is considered more legible when the upper and lowercase letters are used as negative space.
Negative spaces are often used to create secondary images as well and that in turn acts as a valuable addition to branding, delighting end-users.
The user interface is the root of engaging user experiences that has to be built on a foundation of UI principles. Before designing, consider these five fundamental UI principles for building simple, credible, and sustainable interfaces for a wide set of users.