No matter how sleek or animated a website may be, one crucial aspect of website design cannot be ignored – the user interface, or UI. Why is website interface design so important and why should it be a factor when considering the look, feel and layout of your website?
Why Should I Be Concerned With My Website’s Interface?
If you were to list the reasons why you prefer one website over another – for instance, the website you’ve chosen as your go-to source of news, or your favorite online retailer – would you list how easy it is to scan and navigate your way through the website and quickly reach the page or section of the website you need to find? For a majority of internet users, no amount of flashy multimedia or stellar content can make up for a website that is difficult to navigate.
User Interface Design
When a web designer begins planning and designing a new website, they must anticipate what website visitors and users may want to find or need to do at any given point when the visitors and users are navigating their way through the website. The web designer then factors those predictions into the creation of a User Interface (UI) design. Believe it or not, one of the most important aspects of modern user interface is simply not “reinventing the wheel” with each new website.
Common UI Elements
Many people living in developed countries have utilized the internet for almost two decades, and although websites have undergone many significant changes as web browsers have evolved and internet-devices have become more powerful and portable, most Internet users are now used to a range of web interface elements appearing and behaving in predictable ways. These common interface elements include dropdown lists, text fields, checkboxes and radio buttons.
Just because it is considered bad practice to create a unique (and therefore unfamiliar) or overtly complex website interface does not mean that every website must look and function exactly the same. If you were to compare the homepages of MSN.com, Amazon.com and CNN.com, you will notice that although these three websites appear very different at first glance, they all share interface elements that are both easy to locate and instantly familiar to most experienced Internet users. Any shift away from a simple UI design can be risky – If a website designer chooses to prioritize a unique interface element, such using a set of icons in place of text, the trade-off of that design decision may be a UI that is more confusing and frustrating for some users and visitors to initially grasp and understand.
Make A List
As with other elements of web design, choosing the elements of interface design that you want included in your website can often be accomplished by making a list of your favorite websites, identifying common UI designs that you want to incorporate into your own website, and then forwarding that information to our design team. At Blue Zenith, we can review a website or list of websites forwarded to us by a client and identify which Content Management System and related add-ons, such as themes and plugins, are required to replicate almost any UI interface. We can then design websites that are intuitive, functional and, most importantly, meet both the requirements and desires of our clients.