How to Improve Your Web App’s User Interface Design

March 14, 2015In User Interface Design4 Minutes

While there is a lot of focus on UI design for smartphone apps and websites, web apps are often neglected. It seems like the sought after standard for web apps is “good enough” for many organizations. However, it’s important to understand that great UI leads to a great user experience and a great user experience leads to increased productivity, loyal customers, and less reliance on support. So how do you start creating a user interface design that hits the mark with your users with app interface design?

First, understand your audience. Who are your users? Are they, corporate users, college students, potential customers, administration staff, or a group that’s technologically challenged? Get an idea of what kind of apps that your audience uses. Find what they are comfortable using, what kind of complaints/challenges they have, and what they apps use on a regular basis. This will help you design your web app in a way that suits the users.

Person on phone using app interface design

Second, focus on simplicity. Make it easy for your users to navigate the user interface. Make it so that the users can take the desired actions in less steps. Clean up the text and instructions so that everything is perfectly clear. Organize everything in a logical manner. Part of creating simplicity means extensively testing the app to find out what elements are hard to use, annoying or confusing. Lay down a structure or go through the existing structure and make notes for what to change.

Third, make it personal. If you look at some of the best SAAS businesses, you’ll see that personalization is one of the key features for your app interface design. If you are working with a complex web app, personalization can often make it more useful, productive, and convenient for users. Sometimes it’s a simple feature like allowing the user to filter email from specific recipients to a designated folder for organizational purposes and sometimes it’s far more complex. The idea here is to add personalization features that users actually want.

Fourth, improve the aesthetics. Aesthetics make your app interface design engaging. A UI created solely for its functions and features can often look clunky (even if it’s not). Aesthetics makes the UI feel more accessible, easy-to-understand, and valuable to the user. The simplest example is a graphical text link with a grey-colored flat design versus a yellow graphic text link. You are more inclined to click on the yellow link because the color is stands out, is more attractive than the grey, and signifies more importance.

Finally, keep on improving. Your first iteration of your user interface design will be far from where it needs to be. Continue to get feedback from users to see what their issues are. It is a good idea to actually track the activity or even use pop up forms to ask users what they are looking for. That will put you in the mindset of the users and allow you to have a clear idea of their intent.

Again, web apps often get neglected when it comes to UI design. This is often because the effects of bad UI aren’t always transparent. Don’t think that UI doesn’t have a huge impact on the results you’re after. You’ll see a big difference in the way that users interact with your web app once you make even small changes to your UI.

Designer's computer desk workstation setup.

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