How do you choose a new smartphone? Is it the simplicity of use, design or technical characteristics that most influence your choice? Most probably it’s all three and it’s safe to say that same applies to the choice of web apps. So, when designing a web application, there are two key aspects to keep in mind — user interface (UI) and user experience (UX).
A web application UI design aggregates all functions and defines the way you will be interacting with the software or, in other words, the UX. The user’s experience is the overall experience you have when interacting with a system. Web application user interface is the very first thing you see when opening any application. Therefore, the first impression and the subsequent user experiences are critical here. To develop a beautiful and user-friendly web application interface design you might need to consult online with a technical partner.
User interface and user experience design are the defining ones when it comes to the profitability of your app. With the number of current products on the market, yours has to meet and exceed expectations in order to surpass them.
The benefits of good UI and UX are listed below:
Boost customer satisfaction.
If you offer a smartphone with an inconvenient web app UI design, users will most likely choose another app with more simple UI. The clearer interface and the better UX — the more satisfied customers.
If you are developing an app from scratch, you will definitely need some useful tips. Let’s discuss some principles that professional developers follow when engineering a new UI.
It doesn’t matter what kind of app you are designing — if users can’t find what they want in a matter of minutes, they’ll leave. This is why making things easily accessible is a fundamental rule. Use the shortcuts, hover tooltips, and tabs to make your interface clear and simple.
Such toolbar options as Help, Support, and Contact should be easily accessible as well. At some point, your customers will need to get in touch with you and it should be as simple as possible.
Your product has to work, look, and feel like one single unit. Therefore, being consistent is another crucial rule to follow when creating user interface design for web applications. The consistency of your interface is where the consistency of the entire app begins.
Consistency refers to everything from the font, colors, and design that users see on every page to the menu on the front page which has to be perfectly structured. It would be a great idea to make the interface feel more intuitive so the users are able to navigate easily.
People who use your app don’t have to wreck their brains to understand what to do, where to click, and what to choose. It should be clear from the very beginning. One of the ways to make things obvious is to create a new page for every new step of the process. Here is a good web application user interface design example:
Make sure that your users receive small feedback on whatever actions they are taking. Once they click on something it would be useful of the system let them know how much time is left to upload the next page or download the file. Keep in mind that most people are impatient, but it’s less frustrating for them to see that the system is processing something.
No one wants to guess what icon they should click. Hence, all icons should be as recognizable as possible, so their usage becomes intuitive. Recognizing instead of recalling makes UX much more satisfying.
This point connects to consistency because the ways a user will be interacting with the app have to be logical. Every page has to have the same way of interaction and include only functional images. This way users will avoid the confusion and frustration, and you — loss of customers.
When Siri was designed, voice input was chosen as the main way of using the app and it never changed. Users just need to talk to the app, can’t get much clearer than that. Make instructions understandable to the users.
There are certain graphics and icons that stay unaltered such as a question mark (?) indicating Help and hamburger icon ( ☰ ) representing the menu bar or a magnifier for the search bar. By following these UI standards for a web application, you will avoid users’ getting disoriented.
If you want to simplify the use of your app, follow the elemental hierarchy. Traditionally, things go from top to bottom and from left to right. In terms of app UI design, it means that the most important objects must be placed at the top of the page. This makes the UI clearer and process of using more natural and intuitive.
The easier it is to navigate through the app, the more confident and happy your users feel. So, make sure they don’t need to think twice on ant step. Here is a mockup of the first page which may serve as a source of inspiration for you.
Simplicity might as well be the motto of UI/UX design. Users shouldn’t have any problems proceeding from one point to another. Think of the navigation, for instance. A convenient one would have fewer elements and familiar titles.
Whichever UI designs for web applications you are considering, they should not restrict or take control away from the users. Empower them with your UI instead. The very first thing you can do is locate the most important tools and buttons next to the users’ working area. Let them feel that they can do or undo any action at any time.
Sometimes you need to give them the freedom to use app comfortably. One of the ways to do this is to add buttons Cancel and Undo to certain pages where they may need to make changes.
There are some technical partners that you can find online in case you need professional help or advice. For example, Gearheart’s has an experienced and skilled team which can guarantee your security.
You may use Photoshop or Pixelmator, hire the most creative illustrators, yet there are some points you should always take into account and monitor how they are done in your project.
The state of your app before the user makes any action is critical, as it gives a general understanding of what the application is about. There are some templates you may find helpful.
Here you can use media to demonstrate how things work.
Those apps that have limited storage should inform their users about it in advance. They should have an opportunity to consider an upgrade before they run out of storage space.
This is how Gmail deals with it, by showing the information about the storage space left as a simple text:
And Gearheart gives a clear idea of what the software development process is like:
Gearheart provides a pricing and payment schedule:
Gearheart gives some visual ideas on how to simplify navigation:
Keep your UI as understandable as possible. Hide the buttons and icons which users don't need and use the approach of progressive disclosure.
This is how it looks like in Dropbox. The inactive state:
That is what you get when hovering over your file:
The contextual menu gets progressively disclosed offering additional tasks to use in your file.
Gearheart shows more details after you click on a pointer:
Icons, images, charts, graphs, and other visuals are great for making the interface more user-friendly. They make data more readable and simple.
The trash icon on Basecamp is used to draw the attention and it gets disclosed when you hover over it:
Gearheart uses visuals to demonstrate what services it offers:
Call boxes and notification areas are quite helpful, but it is important to locate them at the places where they will be convenient for the user and won’t interfere with the workflow.
Fast means efficient and this is what every user looks for in an application. Therefore, it is crucial to make sure that the app operates with the best speed. It would be a great idea to reduce the use of Java and utilize CSS when possible.
Don’t forget to style clickable elements. For example, it could be a cursor that changes into a pointer when an element is interactive.
Also, add alt attributes to all images. They describe what the image is about (or what an icon should be used for), help avoid ambiguity, make it more convenient for visually impaired people who use screen readers, and simply show up when an image failed to load.
There are a lot of rules and principles to consider in order to create a functional and easy-to-use application interface. Once you have created the UI, which translates into a satisfying UX, your product is certain to hit a home run. Hence, it is a great investment in a functional web app UI design.
Remember that everything should be easy to consume and mind the UI/UX design principles, even if you hire a highly rated designer.