What Is UI Design and Why Is It Important?

Posted on May 30, 2023 | Updated on June 26, 2023

What is UI design? It’s vital for a brand’s website and relationship with users. Every website has a different UI design, but the fundamentals are the same. It’s apparent that it is essential for websites or apps, but why does it matter to the overall brand?

What Is UI Design?

User interface (UI) design encapsulates the layout, appearance, and functionality of the interactive elements on a website or app. To an extent, it has to anticipate user needs and behavior because they’ll be accustomed to navigating through websites a certain way.

There are three concepts involved in the fundamentals of UI design:

  • Interaction design: The behavior and style of interactive systems. It encourages action and lets users interact how they want and expect.
  • Visual design: The appearance of content. Its purpose is to draw users in, make the website pleasing to look at, and tie the content to the brand identity.

These three concepts combine to make a website look pleasing and operate in a practical, accessible way. The content has to look and function cohesively to encourage people to interact and make their experience as streamlined as possible. 

How Is UI Different than UX?

While UI design may sound similar to user experience (UX) design, the two differ because they have separate goals. UI focuses on appearance and function to anticipate how a user might navigate the site, whereas UX focuses on the overall experience to blend the brand’s objectives with consumer goals. Although they deal with some of the same aspects, they’re not the same.

UI deals with the actual buttons, sliders, text, and widgets a user can interact with. It combines how interactions happen with how smooth they are. Beyond ensuring they function currently, it must make them look good and blend in with the rest of the content. 

Changing the appearance of design elements can motivate users to interact in a certain way. For example, a button with bold typography in a larger font could draw their attention and inspire them to click on it.

UX has to consider design elements in the overall experience, but it doesn’t focus on them. It ensures the website’s purpose is fully realized and everything aligns with the brand’s goals. While UI manages the ability to navigate through the website, UX must make the process meaningful and anticipate user intent.

What Are the Basics of UI Design?

Basic UI design centers around choosing which elements to display and how to display them to create the best experience. While there’s much to consider based on the brand and target demographic, the basics are more essential.

Here are the basics of UI design:

  • Accessibility: Users must be able to reach every design element easily to keep them on the website. For example, the menu should be available on every page so they can easily navigate at any point in their journey.
  • Familiarity: Users have grown familiar with certain layouts or interactions. For example, the search bar is typically at the top of the page. Designing a website around users’ expectations is essential.
  • Appeal: The appearance of content should be appealing to encourage users to stay. Also, different aesthetics may attract particular demographics, so it’s important to design around that. 
  • Cohesiveness: The function of interactive elements, the appearance of content, and the connection to the brand should be clear and well-defined. A cohesive website or app can look and perform better. 
  • Practicality: Practical UI design balances space, placement, and style. Giving users what they need and removing excess keeps their experience streamlined and intuitive.

Every design element should be purposeful and essential for user interaction or brand identity. Users should be able to easily navigate a website even if they’ve never visited it before. In addition, the look of each page should match the homepage. Making everything relevant and familiar is crucial to keep people on the website.

How Can UI Design Impact a Brand?

It’s crucial for brands to properly implement the basics of UI design because it can impact how users perceive them and if consumers buy from them. For example, if a customer can’t figure out which button adds items to their shopping cart, they might decide to use another website. 

There are seemingly endless options online for whatever need someone has, so a brand needs to create an experience that stands out from the rest. For instance, around 70% of Gen Z believe websites should be intuitive, and about 45% of them will exit a website if they feel it isn’t. The UI must be good so it can keep people engaged.

What Is Good UI Design?

Brands must know their audience and anticipate how they’ll use their website to craft good UI. They should take competitor design into consideration, translate their identity into every design element, and adapt each interaction to be as streamlined as possible.

For example, each page should look cohesive but be differentiated enough that consumers know immediately which one they’re on. The layout should also be intuitive enough that they can navigate without putting thought into it. Good UI design elevates their experience past the baseline. It’s a complex process to stand out while remaining familiar enough to keep their experience streamlined, but it can be worth it. 

Each brand should consider adding small, relevant additions. For example, a visual progress indicator is essential for the checkout process because it lets customers know how many steps they have left to complete before finalizing their purchase. It can be useful for brands to incorporate specific design elements relevant to their process, industry, or product because users appreciate such things and have grown accustomed to them.

It goes beyond making navigation accessible or the look of each page cohesive. Good UI design properly anticipates their needs and goes beyond making content functional. It must reflect the brand’s essence and allow for different styles of interaction. 

Why Does Good UI Design Matter?

The basics are essential for keeping a user on the website or app, but good UI design can have a significant, positive impact. For example, around 85% of shoppers claim color is the primary factor influencing them to make a purchase. Although the best color choice depends on the brand’s color palette and the target demographic, the right decision can boost sales. 

Pleasant designs and straightforward ways to interact with the website can engage users and inspire them to make purchases or align themselves with the brand. In fact, about 94% of consumers will make additional purchases if they feel they had a very good experience on a website. Good UI design is crucial because it drives brand loyalty and sales.

Good UI Design Matters

UI design must anticipate user needs and behavior to create a purposeful layout they can easily navigate. Brands can elevate their identity and connect with their consumers more if they provide a streamlined, positive experience with their UI. They should design their content with their target demographic in mind. Beyond that, managing the balance and accessibility of every interactive element on a page can keep consumers engaged and potentially improve sales.

About The Author

Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her exploring the outdoors with her husband and dog in their RV, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or curled up with a good book with her cats Gem and Cali.

You can find more of Eleanor's work at www.eleanorhecks.com.

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