What is the measure of good user experience? Few users will actually let you know they had a good experience using your Digital Product. What they will act upon, however, is poor user experience - if the app was clunky, inconsistent, unintuitive, or had poor performance, most users will simply swap to a better alternative.
To avoid that, it’s essential to ensure your app has an easy-to-read UI and effective UX design. But what exactly are these two buzzwords, and how important are they for creating a successful app?
What is a User Interface (UI) and how to design it?
User Interface, often shortened to UI for simplicity, is the graphical layer of any application or website that the user sees and interacts with directly. From images to sliders to buttons, User Interface includes all sorts of visual and interactive elements presented to the end user.
As you might imagine, without proper planning and design, the UI of your app might end up an incoherent mess that will be difficult to interact with by your users. While you and your team understand the underlying framework that’s underneath the interface and instinctively know how to navigate it, your users do not have that privilege. If the UI isn’t simple to navigate and attractive to look at, your users might end up looking for a better alternative.
What is User Experience (UX) and how is it different from UI?
User Experience (or simply UX) on the other hand, deals with the bigger picture - not only how good the software looks or how well it can be navigated, but everything pertaining to achieving a positive user experience.
UX design is an extremely complex task, requiring the designers to reflect on virtually every aspect of the app to make all the components work together in harmony. From acquiring the product, to actually using it, to troubleshooting and maintenance - all of these stages need to be designed not only with usability in mind, but also efficiency, ease of use, and fun.
The difference between UX and UI is simple - while the UI design is concerned only with visual and interactive elements, UX design aims to improve the entire experience of using your product or service by creating a logical user flow.
However, since the software industry is constantly evolving and changing, don’t get too attached to these definitions - they are prone to change and be redefined. Instead of thinking how UI and UX are different, think about how they actually complement each other.
Why is UX and UI design so important?
Making your app as usable and user-friendly as possible isn’t merely an act of goodwill - proper UX and UI design is directly linked to increasing your sales and encouraging business growth. While your app might be revolutionary in terms of coding, it won’t do well without people who actually use it regularly, especially since it’s extremely difficult to offer an entirely unique digital product or service nowadays.
That’s when UX and UI come into play - to convince the potential users that your app is the best choice out of all the alternatives, grabbing their attention and proving to them that this is exactly what they were looking for. With so many alternatives within a hand’s reach, you have an extremely short timespan to win the user’s heart, and UX and UI are the perfect tools for doing exactly that.
According to Forrester, each dollar invested in UX design results in a return of $100, and a flawless UX could raise conversion rates up to 400% . Recent studies also show that 88% of users are less likely to return to a website after a bad experience, and 90% stopped using an app because of performance issues. This is especially relevant for mobile users, who are 5 times as likely to abandon their tasks if the app or site isn’t optimized well.
The essential components of UX/UI design
While it is important for your app to look visually pleasing, it should above all else be intuitive to use. One of the main objectives of UX design is to maximally shorten the amount of time needed for the customer to start using your app proficiently. The user flow of your app should reflect real-world interactivity or already well-established standards, like swiping left to move to the next page or having a cogwheel represent settings.
Your app’s design should also be consistent. If you choose to represent a certain functionality in a specific way, make sure it is represented as such in every area of your app. Don’t confuse your user by changing the rules in different areas of your app - simplicity and coherence should be your goal.
The specific platform you’re designing your app for also has an impact on UX/UI design. You don’t want your PC users to have a poorly ported mobile app on their device, as the two are fundamentally different in how people use them. Many systems and devices offer specific recommendations for developers to make it simpler to implement a common look and feel in a certain environment, like Microsoft Fluent Design System for Windows 10 or Material Design Guidelines for Android.
As you can see, UX and UI are extremely important aspects of any app or website, dictating conversion rates and directly increasing profits. Poorly optimized websites cost retailers over $2 billion in lost sales each year. Don’t follow their example - take care of proper UX/UI design.
Here at Bravelab, we offer professional UX & UI design and optimization services, making every effort to make your app visually pleasing and user-friendly. Find out how we can help you and make an appointment using the form below.