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6 Basic Rules of Designing Interfaces Your Users Will Love

MadAppGang's art director and designer Roman Shelekhov
Roman Shelekhov
Art Director / Designer

Why user-friendly interfaces are so important

Mobile apps and websites often scare away customers with confusing and hard  to navigate interfaces. It’s one common reason users' interest in a digital product decreases. As their satisfaction and level of engagement decrease, so too can the success and profitability of your product.

On the other hand, a well-designed interface makes users feel confident and capable. They become more engaged, their satisfaction increases, and you get higher retention rates and more positive reviews.

We'd like to share 6 basic tips from our experienced designers on how to create an interface your users will love.

Tip #1 Avoid overwhelming complexity

Keep your interface as simple as possible. A cluttered interface can confuse users, making it difficult for them to focus on and complete important tasks. 

To make it easier for users to learn your product, and use it effectively, simplify the interface and keep the focus on key tasks.

A designer stands between two monitors, one with a successful website design and the other with a failed one

For example, incorporating plenty of white space helps users navigate, organises on-page elements, and means your customers won’t get overwhelmed. Additionally, a clear visual hierarchy means you can prioritise essential tasks, helping users swiftly find the information they need and accomplish their goals effectively.

Tip #2 Use clear and concise language

Use language that is easy for users to understand without having to think too hard. Avoid complex terms and expressions. 

Clear and straightforward instructions help users understand the interface, know what they’re expected to do, and complete tasks efficiently.

Image of the design of two buttons, one with a clear message for the user and the other with text too difficult to understand

You should also avoid jargon, idioms, or hard-to-understand references. It’s always better to be clear than clever.

Remember, some users may not be native speakers, so choose your (simple) words wisely to communicate effectively.

Tip #3 Incorporate visual elements

Enhance your interface with icons, images, and videos to help users better understand your message. 

Visual elements can complement written instructions and make the interface more intuitive. But remember that images and icons alone can have different meanings for different people, so provide written explanations too.

Screens of two smartphones, one with a white cross in a red circle and the other with a white tick in a green circle

For example, a thumbs-up means approval in Western culture, but in some places, it’s offensive.

Tip #4 Use familiar patterns

Make your users' lives easier by incorporating familiar interface patterns. When users are already familiar with certain interface types, they learn how to navigate and interact with your application faster. Using familiar patterns reduces effort and improves user experience.

Screens of two smartphones that demonstrate the successful and unsuccessful use of familiar patterns in interface design

For instance, users expect to find navigation bars positioned at the top of a web page, and will intuitively know how to use a similarly placed navigation bar in a new application.

Tip #5 Give users feedback

To truly empower your users, make sure they always know what's happening when they interact with your interface. 

Feedback can be in the form of messages, notifications, animations, or haptic feedback such as a sound or a vibration, which lets people know the outcome of their actions. 

When an action is unsuccessful, good feedback should explain why and offer guidance on how to correct it. If there's a system issue, inform users of the problem and any efforts to resolve it.

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Let's consider the widespread 500 page. As designers, we know what a 500 error means, but users might not. To help them, we need to add text explaining what happened: "500 - Internal server error. Refresh the page or try again later. We’ll do our best to fix it.".

Tip #6 Focus on accessibility

Your interface should be accessible to all users, including those using assistive technologies such as screen readers. Accessibility empowers users and means they can engage with your digital products or services. 

For instance, providing alternative text descriptions for images helps people with visual impairments understand the content. Closed captions or transcripts for videos allow users who are deaf or hard of hearing access the same information as others.

Interfaces of two applications with the image of a cat, for one of which alt text is prescribed and the other is not

We hope these tips help you create a user-friendly interface that’s both welcoming and user-centric. 

Always prioritise the user and test your designs with real people to make sure they’re working as expected and your users enjoy the experience. 

Remember, when you build a product that not only meets your customers' needs but also makes them feel empowered and capable throughout the process, you’re more likely to gain loyal customers.