UX design or user experience design is an integral part of any software, mobile app or website. The user interface is a consumer’s window into the world of any given product. There are many factors that constitute a “good” UX design, such as optimization, enjoyable usage or even eye candy some may say. Humans are quite complicated but often enjoy simplicity when it comes to things that visually appeal to us. Whether it’s a Discovery Channel documentary or a user interface, we look for relatable aspects in pretty much everything. Designing a user interface thus presents itself with a few core challenges, such as appealing to human nature while meanwhile creating something that stands out from the crowd. Additionally, one must also understand that to cater to a broad audience once must incorporate some type of documentation along with their product. Remember back in the days when Microsoft had the infamous paper clip that would answer your queries? Today we find Cortana, an AI from a popular FPS game called Halo that helps users with what they’re doing in case they ever run into a problem. The intuitive design comes from accessibility, ease of operations and a general understanding of software through the consumer’s eyes. Let us indulge ourselves with some things to keep in mind whenever working on UX design. #1. Stay True to Tradition Experimentation and adaptability has led to some of the best things known to humanity. However when you have a proven business model that has sufficiently provided results day in and day out – why tinker with it? Users love familiarity, especially with the programs they use. If the shortcut to open another session of your program has been consistent throughout the years, why bargain to change it? Leaving it as is allows the user to quickly familiarize themselves with this new product they’re using. Consistency is the best form of endearment to returning or even new users. Being consistent within a given product is also very important. If the shortcut to move your cursor five spaces to the left is ctrl + left arrow key then the shortcut to move to the right would be? You guessed it ctrl + right arrow key. #2. Quickest to the Finish Line There has never been a need in this digital world to increase the distance between the start and finish line. Make sure to minimize the time and effort it takes the consumer to complete tasks. Adding unnecessary steps in between is usually a make or break aspect of any software. A great example of this would be pointless recurring validations required from manual input from the consumer. Do I want to make a specific program the default on my device – maybe I do, maybe I don’t but if I am pestered every time I use the software to make this decision it will lead me to decide something else entirely. Automation has become the best way of achieving the ultimate user experience. Making sure that the user has to input the least amount of commands to complete a task is key to success. Agile scrum is a great example of how professional firms use this on a daily basis – scoping and planning the most efficient way to get from ‘point a’ to ‘point b’. Now there will always be points where making the user wait for a process to finish will be inevitable. This waiting period can be leveraged to your advantage by perhaps adding a trendy load bar with a quick tutorial tip on the product – something the user would find surprising. #3. Everyone Loves a Helping Hand When it comes to user interface one must assume that the user has no idea what they’re doing and are starting from scratch. Providing tooltips and built in tutorials with your product is a surefire way to keep your audience engaged. An example I mentioned above was the paperclip of Microsoft – it was so popular that anyone alive in the nineties will speak about it with nostalgia and the reason for that is that it really did help users. The real reason however behind its success was the feeling of achievement it gave to the user that he or she has learned something that will help them with their day to day lives. This is another make or break aspect for any UX design. There’s nothing wrong with offering a comprehensive tutorial to the usage of your product or website like many games do when you first enter their digital world. Consider it like teaching the user how to ride a bike for the first time, they might wobble but at least your intuitive design is in place to lend them a helping a hand. #4. Understanding your Target Audience If you have proper insight into what your users are looking for you can postulate easily answerable questions to yourself. How do I make sure the user prefers my website over another? How do I make him or her keep coming back for more? Having the answers to these questions before setting out on your endeavor can definitely make it easier for you to reach your goals. There will always be those who find your UI the best thing to ever happen however there will also be those who look to offer constructive criticism. There are many generic aspects to any UI that must be thought of for any design. Make sure load times are bearable, ensure design has a captivating visual appeal rather than a bland one and offer information in short and well-spread outbursts rather than all at once. Conclusion A great take away from all this would be to rethink your own approach. Scrumming and scoping our ideas with team members or even solo can be a great way to lay out the groundwork for something truly wonderful. If something doesn’t feel right then it most probably isn’t and circling back to find a different solution is your best way to go. If however, there is a model you have built that has brought you positive acclaim, then, by all means, stick to it and don’t let it go. UX design is the embodiment of a developer’s understanding of their users. Put yourself in the user’s shoes and make your choices based on what it would feel like if you were to use the website, app or software yourself. Image: A man is holding a tablet with “UX DESIGN” texts on the screen.