Smarter Interface Design with Focus on Usability

February 23, 2014In Usability3 Minutes

Every day more and more companies are starting to realize how important usability is whether it’s for their websites or mobile apps. The UI can make all the difference in how usable and attractive and inviting a website or app is. It can also provide a structure to the navigation and website organization. However, it needs to be done with a focus on user experience.

Many people confuse UI design with UX design. You can say that UI is the wireframe of a website or app whereas the experience of using that website or app is the user experience. Ultimately, UI fits into the greater scope of UX and should be designed to affect user behavior in positive ways.

Two people on computer performing usability testing

With that said, it is important to approach interface design with the goal of improving user experience and shaping user behavior towards your website’s goals with usability. There’s no point in designing UI for the sake of making a website or app more attractive and inviting. It’s similar to designing a website to make it as attractive as possible but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to improve conversions.

To support that angle, you need to make sure the interface is designed so that using the website or app is easy and intuitive. The navigation menu should be well organized, clean and clear in how it works. Links to different types of content should be clearly laid out in the interface. More complex systems such as SAAS platforms should simplify the functionalities and present everything in a structured manner so that users feel good about using the platform.

While that may make it sound like designing a great UI limits creativity, this is not the case. There are plenty of examples of user interface designs that really break the mold, especially when it comes to smartphone apps. In fact, approaching the user interface design as the core focus of a web design or development project can really produce outstanding results. It should interconnect creativity and usability in the same breath.

For example, Nike created an iPad app that allowed users to create their own set of soccer drills and routines for training purposes. The interface was designed so that drills were separated according to accuracy, control and speed. The user could mix and match various exercises to build a custom program with each exercise providing video instructions. Furthermore, users could track their progress for each exercise.

The result was that this app created an intuitive, interactive, and very personal way to consume content. The UI was built as part of the overall UX design rather than designed solely for the presentation. This is the same approach you need to take when designing the UI for your website or app. It makes all the difference as UX translates to more traffic, leads, shares, and sales.

A person logging into their laptop.

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