UI Basics You Need to Know

Design is a standard attribute for any marketing project to be carried out perfectly and presented as a remarkable final product. But to find the right designer, who’ll turn your website into a UI enhanced masterpiece, the hiring process is a vicious cycle!

To hire a designer, they need to have a good, scratch that, jaw-droppingly fantastic portfolio, but it’s hard to enrich your portfolio as a designer without a job. You see the dilemma?

To let you in on a little secret, empowering your UX and UI experience, will get you both; the outstanding portfolio you’re trying to achieve and the dream job you’ve always wanted! Here’s why, because according to Steve Jobs,

“Design is not just what it looks like… Design is how it works.”

And UX and UI are the implication of how design feels in the hands of the user.

Needless to say, Steve Jobs definitely knows what he’s talking about! A man who can ensure his website is as simple as apple.com, and as satisfying to look at, is a man who knows a thing or two about design.

The secret ingredient to this aesthetically pleasing website is that its design is built on immaculate UI and UX!

If you’re interested to know more about UX, please go ahead and read our UX Basics You Need to Know blog, but if you want to learn all about the UI basics, you’re on the right web page.

What is UI?

UI is the acronym for User Interface. Other than the fact that saying UI is much easier than saying user interface, it’s also a bit more hip and savvy, that’s why no one uses user interface. Everyone wants to sound like an expert, right? But to actually be a pro in UI, you need to understand that the main pillars for functional UI design are the colour palette, the choice of fonts, the white spacing, and display of images, to name a few.

Technically speaking, the ingredients for UI designing are very similar to the old school web design components, but the main difference is that UI uses these elements in a way to serve the users’ needs. What we mean by that is that the users’ flow through the web pages, between the intricacies of the design, has to have a light and easy feel about it. You as a designer have to guide the user to what they’re trying to do on the page, and only then can you call your web page UI-optimised.

How to Perfect UI

Perfectionism is a pain, but horrible design is much, much worse, and designers who understand that, are the ones who’ll be able to go places with their UI. We’re not trying to tell you that the design has to look like the best thing on this planet, but the user’s interaction and journey with your design have to be!

At JAYPAY, we fully understand what it takes to create such seamless and fluid UI designs, so in case you want one of your own, just let us know.

For the basics of UI design, we’ve actually adopted a new approach that’s working for us just fine, even a little more than fine. So, to find the how-to for UI, you need to start with your what and why.

Once you’re sure and aware of what you’re trying to achieve with your UI, what you want your users to do with your design, and why you want them on your web page, you would have successfully found out how you want your design to look.

So, before we delve into the actual aspects of the exemplary UI, we’d like to brief you on the characteristics your design should have to actually reach usability according to the Nielsen Norman Group research. We’ve been relying on these characteristics ever since we found out about them, and they’ve elevated our UI in every particular sense.

  1. Learnability: When your users don’t struggle to find their way around the web page or app, then you’ve created a fully functional design, with effective UI.
  2. Efficiency: Since finding the way around isn’t a struggle for the users, how will they now actually perform the task they’re here for? And, how long will it take them?
  3. Memorability: When users visit your web page or app after they’ve been gone for some time, will they feel the familiarity of the design, or will they feel the need to learn how to use it all over again?
  4. Errors: Users will make at least a mistake or two on your web page, but what’s for sure is that the less mistakes they make, the less frustrated they’ll be and the better your website will rank in their preference list.
  5. Satisfaction: Will your users leave your webpage with a smile on their face because of how much they enjoyed using it, or will they feel relieved to be finally off of the website?

Once you get the answer to all of your questions, you’ll have the main keys for your website usability, which is a main building block for UI.

The UI Design Basics

UI aims to communicate the information from your website to your user, and from the user back to the website. Once the JAYPAY team realised how simple the point behind UI is, designing UI-enhanced pages stopped sounding like mission impossible!

Again, we’d like to take apple.com as an example, because they’ve executed their UI so well, to the point where they’re flaunting it. And there’s no shame in that! Actually, they’re super aware of how good they’ve done their UI to the point that they’ve created a web page about the UI Do’s and Don’ts, where they use their UI as the do’s and other examples as the don’t!

Now, if that isn’t the actual embodiment of confidence, we’re not sure what is!

Here are some of the basics you need to know to achieve Apple-standard UI.

Formatting Your Content

UI combines the feel and design, that’s why it involves the content on your website and how you format it. To have a UI-optimised website, make sure your content is aligned depending on your focus. So, if you’re a car washing garage, and you want to tell your customers that you’re giving

Free Oil Check with Every Wash.

Make sure their eyes are attracted to that sentence. For all you know, if they were lazy users who don’t read much, you’d be sure that they read what’s of the essence, first. You just read the few words in italic, before the rest of the words, right?

See what we did there? A UI trick!

Chances are you also read “free oil check with every wash” before reading any of the paragraph above. That doesn’t really serve the blog’s overall purpose, but it strategically embodies the example, so it’s safe to say point proven, right?

Placing Your Targets (CTA Buttons)

Most, if not all, web pages and apps are created to make a sale, and that’s why CTAs exist. However, the placement of the CTA, along with its colour and the font formatting, adds up to the actual making or breaking of your sale.

Let’s go back to our car wash example; if after that bold and inviting sentence, there was no CTA, then the entire page would be of no value! But a small “PLEASE WASH MY CAR” under that sentence would do. Remember, we’re not trying to go overboard to create UI, mostly, it’s the other way around; minimalistic designs are very popular in UI design. That is yet another thing Apple has revolutionised into the design world!

Think about it this way, “if my design is done to make my user’s life easier, where would each specific element be?” With the outcome, your web page becomes a completely new piece of art.

Applying Reasonable Spacing

Your design needs to breathe!

Read that sentence a few couple times a day if you want to be a skilled UI designer.

Your user sight shouldn’t be clustered with fluff design if it doesn’t benefit your ultimate goal; making a sale!

Technically speaking, follow what Coco Channel said about simplicity of fashion, ”Before you leave the house, remove one piece.” But for design, remove at least one element that you’re sure is of absolutely no value, and we assure you your design will look much more easy to look at!

Focus on adding negative spacing to the sides of your page, because this will help with the responsiveness of your design across all screen sizes. Also, increase your line height and letter spacing where needed.

Did we mention that Apple was one of the first companies to focus on making designs look breathable? But then again, we’ve been insisting on how UI has been Apple’s innovation from the very beginning of this blogpost!

So if you’re a clingy partner, and you’re a designer, you need to remember to give more space to your partner just as much as your UI designs!

When did UI turn into relationship advice?

UI has to do with human behaviour, and everyone likes to feel at ease, whether looking at a webpage, or settling for a partner.

You can thank us later for this life lesson.

Choosing Your Palette

While others might believe choosing the colour palette is the first focus when creating UI design, we actually think it isn’t! Before you quickly judge, hear us out. Once you’re sure of your brand, and you’ve created its logo, or even if you’re working with a finalised design, your colour scheme will be used in all your design! So, for some designers, colour palettes are a work in progress for the most part of designing, others like to make sure their colours are specified from the get-go, and there are some that like to completely finalise their colours while finalising the project at hand.

No matter which group of designers you belong to, all we need you to remember for the colours, and fonts, is to be consistent!

The Final Word

UI in a nutshell is the way a designer employs their designs to beautify web pages or apps while ensuring that the user and their needs are the main point behind these designs. As a designer, once you come to terms with the fact that the design isn’t about you, but about the user, you’ll step into the road of your career’s success.

Life lesson number two; not everything is about you! Once again, save your thanks for later!

If you want any help with your UI design, or you’d like to see the kind of UI design we at JAYPAY can create, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

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