A Nod to UI Design
Why User Interface Design is so Important in Software Development
Why User Interface Design is so Important in Software Development
At Clever Software Group, we take immense pride in the software products we develop in-house. A vast amount of detail and hard graft is put in by everyone of our highly skilled software developers, to ensure your enterprise software solution is tailor-made to your specifications.
We also have a very talented user interface designer onboard. UI design is often an overlooked and underappreciated aspect of software development – however, it’s a vital and very important asset to consider when creating software solutions. If your interface isn’t appealing or unusable, people just aren’t going to interact with it, which in turn may cause a bit of a headache.
You wouldn’t purchase a product that looked good but didn’t function properly (unless you really like Philippe Starck’s ‘Juicy Salif’); the same applies to a piece of software. This is where user interface design comes into play.
A user interface shapes the look and feel of a piece of software development. Whether it takes the form of a ticket booking website or smart phone application, UI reinforces brand values and reflects a companies tone of voice – how would you like to appear to clients and users interacting with your bespoke piece of software? Majority of us will interact with some type of user interface on a daily basis, whether that’s whilst doing our weekly shop at a supermarket or treating yourself to your favorite takeaway from an app; UI has become apart of our everyday lives.
Well designed user interfaces are incredibly important from a business perspective. It relays the first impression someone may ascertain of your product or service. If your interface is refined and inviting, users are more likely to enjoy exploring it, meaning your UI will retain their attention for longer. Your interface should appear professional, yet entertaining, creating a positive impact on prospective users. If you create a good impression through your user interface, consumers are more likely to return to your site or application again and again.
User interface design allows a piece of software to become tangible, focusing on the style and feel of the product solution. UI should allow a pleasurable and easy-to-use experience and not impeach on the user journey. Failing to fully engage your audience’s attention can lead to pitfalls, such as not reaching KPIs or achieving business goals. It’s really important to consider the likeability and emotional elements of UI design, but more about that later.
Naturally, a bias will be formed about how you would like your bespoke piece of software to look and feel, but it’s important to consider how the end user will interact with and travel through your site or application.
Being mindful of user-focused design features can highlight key points within a user interface, allowing a human element to be applied to software development. Understanding the difficulties a user may have when interacting with an interface will allow room for simple and engaging improvements to be made, resulting in the best possible refined outcome. User-centered design is an iterative process and although it can be time consuming, different solutions can be experimented with, impacting the overall mood and quality of the user interface design.
UI design gives the first insight into how a software solution is going to appear, before a developer takes the reins and begins creating it. Users will judge an interface design very quickly and ascertain whether interacting with it is a valuable use of their time.
Users want to complete tasks quickly with ease, applying a minimum amount of effort. UI design should essentially be ‘invisible’ – it may seem like a very strange thing to say, but a user’s focus shouldn’t be on the overall design of an application or site, but instead should concentrate their attention in the tasks they are looking to complete. If the user interface design is impeaching on these actions, something has gone wrong along the way. Essentially, you want a personalized, immersive experience to be created through UI, enticing users to return to your platform.
Key aspects of UI design include the icons, infographics and illustrations that will be featured to make the piece of software visually appealing, alongside important call-to-action buttons for users to engage with. Other considerations will be how all of the information will be displayed in proportion with screen sizes and dimensions. Thorough time and attention should go into the selection of desired fonts and typefaces that will be displayed on the interface. If a font is illegible or taxing to read, a user is simply not going to engage with your software solution. These little details will really impact the end result and overall usability of your site or application, so don’t overlook them and take onboard the opinions and recommendations of the UI designer has to offer. Utilize their extensive skills and knowledge to create the best possible customer experience for your user interface.
The selected colour palette should also be in keeping with brand guidelines, reinforcing a company’s identity. Colours can be very emotive and subjective, not only setting the mood of a software innovation, but also highlighting hierarchy of information on a page. Specific features of colour can also drew attention to where particular actions should be performed, facilitating navigation and adding a fun, enjoyable aspect of a user journey.
UI design entails focusing on the usability of software development from a graphic design point of view. A few questions may be asked along the way:
How efficient will the user interface be?
How can a negative impact on the user be avoided?
How quickly can a user get from A to B?
The end goal is to create a user interface that is functional and useful, but visually engaging and pleasant to use. If functionality is prioritized over usability, it can often lead to a confusing design, becoming hard to interact with and in turn, fail to meet a user’s needs and expectations. A user interface is the link that connects a user to the software site or application, so should be comfortable to control and directly accessible.
Like when embarking on a journey, you want to get to your final location in the most convenient way possible – the same should be applied to user interface design.
UI design is an element within software development that should not be ignored, but instead enhanced during the process. It can help reduce business costs and save time, especially when it comes to software development delivery dates. UI design allows specific details to be ironed out, which can be extremely beneficial during a lengthy software project.
Of course, a design does not need to be set in stone and can be tweaked along the way, but UI design most definitely sets out a vital road map for the progression of a bespoke software development project. Do not cut corners with user interface design.
It is by no means an easy task, but UI design really brings a software project together.
User interface designers, we salute you!
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