In this article we explain why good interface design is important, it’s relevance to your business and how creating it can create real value.
With a website often being the first point of connection with a potential client it’s important to make the right first impression. This goes deeper than just the surface-level visual design. How your site works, its messaging, and the way users interact with it can have a very big effect on its success.
The web is a crowded and competitive marketplace, and the businesses that do well online understand how important interface design is in building their brand and how powerful it can be in creating valuable customer relationships.
What do we mean by interface design?
To understand why interface design is so powerful, you first need to understand exactly what is meant by interface design.
User interface (UI) design is the heart and soul of digital design. It is defined as the process designers use to create interfaces in websites, apps, software or digital devices, mainly focussing on the look and feel, how it delivers content and its interactive elements. It is a combination of different elements including the site navigation, menu and page layouts, button styling, branding, colours and fonts amongst others. All of these elements should work well together to provide the interface design.
Whilst a website design can look great on the surface, if it under delivers on the interface and creates a difficult experience for the user then it will under perform and have users bouncing off. In a world where most customer-to-business relationships begin online, particularly in the E-commerce world, interface design is everything.
Other aspects of web design, such as brand messaging, user experience and accessibility are all important when ensuring the best possible customer engagement. These areas are things we will cover in later articles, but for now, we focus on interface design.
How do we define good interface design?
A good user interface presents a seamless blend of visual design, interaction design, and information architecture. Its ultimate aim needs to provide the user with what they want to do in the most efficient and intuitive way possible.
The most effective interface designs are so intuitive and natural feeling they need little thought to use. The interfaces are quick to learn, logical and use familiar elements. They need no instruction to use.
The design needs to look clear and logical, with effective uses of colours, images, fonts and interactive elements like button styling all contributing to the overall design.
Navigation is a huge part of what makes UI work. The top-level navigation needs to be clear and indicate to the user where they are within the site or app in a logical way. This sort of navigation acts as a map to the user. The overall navigation, both in page buttons and main menu areas should be clear and logical, ultimately giving the user a satisfying, and hassle-free experience.
User interactions should make sense and all have a purpose. For every action, there should be a relevant reaction. For example, when a user clicks a button it changes colour or reacts to reinforce that intuitive interaction, whilst performing the exact task the user expects it to.
Think about your favourite downloaded apps that are sitting on your phone right now. it’s likely most of these have been chosen partly, if not totally because their interface designs are intuitive, easy and enjoyable to use.
Why is good interface design important to your business?
Having a good interface design contributes to a positive user experience, and helps build a connection with your audience. Done well it can position you above your competition.
As a user, when you are presented with a good interface design you feel more comfortable and are likely to spend more time on the site or app and choose to return again.
If you develop a good interface that simplifies navigation and makes the site easy to use, you will not only attract new users but you will also make them want to interact with your site for longer. As well as spending more time on your site users are also more likely to return again later. All of this means a lower probability of them bouncing off and this results in a much higher conversion rate.
According to a recent Forrester report, a good UI design can raise a website’s conversion rate by up to 200%.
Interface design is becoming more important as the digital world merges evermore with day to day life. Newer generations of users have increasingly higher expectations for apps and websites. Millennials are far less forgiving of older design trends or fussy interfaces for example. In fact, 54% of millennials surveyed by consumer data company Statista admitted they actively chose which e-commerce app they use over alternatives based on the simplicity of the interface.
Increasing return visits means a good interface design has a direct influence on building brand loyalty, with users choosing to return time and time again and preferring you over the competition.
Having visitors return to your site multiple times gives you an opportunity to build a relationship with them and create all-important brand loyalty. Alternatively, if users find your site frustrating or confusing then the effect will be the opposite, and they will bounce straight off, unlikely to return.
As well as building brand loyalty, minimising bounce rates and increasing return visits a good interface design can be effective in building confidence in your brand. After all, an interface with elements that don’t work very well, look dated or aren’t very intuitive undermines your professionalism. These days users judge companies by their websites and a bad interface can create a negative impression in the mind of potential clients that is hard to shake.
How can you achieve better interface design for your business?
As a digital agency, we spend our working lives planning, designing and building interface designs that deliver results for our clients. What we have learnt is that there is no one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter approach when it comes to creating good interface designs. Whilst the principles remain the same, how we choose to implement them differs. We find treating each project individually to deliver a bespoke result to be the most effective way to create an interface that works well.
Every agency has its own way of working to deliver effective websites. Our own methodology has been developed over 25 years, working closely with some of the world’s biggest brands and startups. By working to assess our client’s needs, their primary goals and how their overall brand message we work to deliver interfaces that create engaging experiences and create a lasting connection between you and your audience.
Through many years of experience delivering successful projects for our clients, we’re able to get the right blend of design, branding, messaging, technologies, and user journey to provide the most effective solution for your business.
To find out more about how we can help your business increase user engagement and brand loyalty through an improved interface design get in touch with the Above Digital team.