Web Design 101: The Ultimate Website UI/UX Guide
Have you ever stumbled upon a mesmerizing building and thought: wow!
The equivalent of that in the digital world is when you come across a well-crafted website UI/UX design examples and think to yourself: how? How could a website possibly look and feel this good?
Well, in this article, we’ll tell you how because we’re about to give you the ultimate website UI/UX guide that will make your page look like a Baroque masterpiece. Or, more of a Bauhaus building: it’s up to you to choose.
But first, let’s start with some definitions.
Website UI Meaning: What is UI?
User Interface (UI) is everything that your user interacts with to use your product or service. It even includes the screens, touchscreens, sounds, lights and keyboards. To better understand the purpose of UI, let’s take a brief look at its history.
The GUI or graphical user interface that we so commonly use today did not exist back in the 1970s when people were only starting to use computers. Nowadays, it’s unimaginable that people used to work with computers using programming languages that required endless lines of codes for a simple task. But that’s precisely how people interacted with computers back in those days.
Ten years later, in the 1980s, the first GUI was invented by the programmers of Xerox PARC. This meant that people were able to communicate with computers without the intricate codes, simply by submitting their requests and commands visually through buttons, icons, menus, and so on.
Fast forward to 2021, where GUI is the norm, and the user interface is so important that you can quickly lose your visitors if your page is not visually pleasant and practically easy to use.
But what about UX? Is it even different from UI? We almost always hear the two terms together, so it’s not surprising that it can be confusing to figure out what’s what.
So, let’s clear all confusions away and understand what the difference between UI and UX is?
UI vs. UX
UI refers to the interaction between the users and the computer systems, applications, or software. On the other hand, User Experience (UX) deals more with the user’s overall experience with the product or service.
To understand it better, here’s an example:
You visit an online shop that you found on Google. When the webpage loads, you instantly understand that the website is made just for you. The clothing items are easy to find, and it does not annoy you with constant pop-ups as other websites do.
At the same time, the visual design and the fonts are adorable, and you genuinely feel at home here. When you come across such a gem, spending a couple of bucks isn’t a big deal. You’re ready to buy their clothing because you identify yourself with their brand.
Now, you loved their brand so much and had a pleasant experience with their website because they had a strong UX. They probably spent a couple of months researching their potential customers, understanding their needs and goals, and figuring out how to address them through their website.
That’s why, for instance, their best-selling items were displayed right in the middle of the landing page so that you could instantly find them and know what the brand is all about.
And what about UI? It’s responsible for those bright colors, cute fonts, and other similar design assets and functionality choices. In other words, UI takes care of your design elements, while UX deals with how those elements contribute to the user’s general experience with your brand.
Now that the definitions are cleared up, let’s get straight to the juiciest part:
The Ultimate Website UI/UX Guide
How exactly do you build a good UI/UX design for your website, and what are the best practices in 2021? We know: UI/UX can get pretty complicated. So to help you get started, here is our step-by-step guide:
1. Research is always the first step
We can’t stress this enough: research is the key to a good UI/UX, so it should be your very first step.
So before you even ask yourself what your product will do, you should ask yourself for whom is it? And once you start answering it, you’re actually creating your UX design without even knowing it. Because unless you know for sure what expectations your potential visitors have and which practices they prefer, you can’t really start designing your website.
So what are some of the questions you should ask yourself?
- What do my potential visitors want and need?
- Is my website unique? Why should potential customers choose me and not my competitors?
- If potential customers are currently choosing my competitors, what can I do to win them over?
And most importantly, how can the user experience of your website help you in the current competition?
This part of the journey, of course, will be much easier if you already have your customers, and creating a website is just one of the steps for your long business journey. However, if the website itself is your main product, you might need to spend a couple of weeks or even months on the research.
But don’t get too overwhelmed. Finding your target audience persona is, in fact, a pretty fun process because you get to know the type of person who’ll be buying your service or products.
You’ll learn whether he’s a gamer or a musician, a Doja Cat fan, or a constant Netflix binger. It might seem irrelevant, but trust us, nothing is useless for the UI/UX design: the more you learn about your target customer, the better.
2. Interface inventory is a must
So you researched the market and know exactly who your visitor is, what’s next? Well, you should start the actual creation of your UI/UX. And for that, you need first to create your interface inventory.
What is interface inventory?
The interface inventory consists of the smaller elements of your web page like the icons, menus, headers, buttons, videos, images, and so on. It is pretty similar to the content inventory.
Now the next question is:
Why do you need an interface inventory?
If you don’t want to struggle later, it’s better to define the overall stylistics of your website upfront. Having an interface inventory helps you stay consistent in your design and formatting because you already have an organized and comprehensive framework.
This is also a perfect UI solution if you have a big team of designers working on the same project. It helps all the team members stay on the same page and follow the same stylistic rules.
Of course, at first, your interface inventory will consist only of the elements you need at that specific moment, but keep in mind that it should be a living document. In other words, as your project extends and grows, so should your interface inventory.
However, coming up with your future website’s style is not an easy task. The blank page is one of the biggest fears of all the artists, including the UI/UX ones. So to get some inspiration, you can skim through some good website UI design templates.
In fact, no one forces you to reinvent the wheel. If you find good templates that match your brand identity, you could even use them and build your page accordingly. Some website UI design templates are flexible and can be heavily customized. So you can make them your start point and continue building your UI from there.
3. Accessibility is key
The best UI/UX is the one that is accessible to all your visitors. No matter who your target audience is, it will have users with varying capabilities, and you should consider them all when creating your UI/UX.
In other words, your UX should be accessible even for people with different disabilities. How do you do so? Consider having clear and contrasting visuals, easy-to-read texts, and integrating color schemes that would work for people with color blindness.
If you want to level up your interface, you could consider using only touch elements that do not require precise motor movements. All of these minor adjustments would help you to make your website accessible to all of its users.
4. Simple Decision-Making
Finally, don’t make it too complicated for your users to make a decision. Bombarding them with pop-ups, banners, and subscription boxes is not always the best decision. Sometimes it will simply annoy them, and you’ll end up losing your potential customers.
Instead, try to keep it minimalistic. If you have too many UI options, you make it harder for your user to make a decision. So the simpler you keep it, the easier it will be.
If you skim through some of the best UI/UX design examples, you’ll see that they do not overstuff the page with too many elements. Remember, simplicity never comes out of fashion.
With these tips in mind, start creating the UI/UX that best matches your brand philosophy and which will make your visitors feel at home.