Make an amazing UI

That’s User Interface for those of you still learning the ins and outs of all things Interactive.

I’m working with a client who has this amazing product. It fills a void, it services a whole sub-industry of people who have nothing like it now and it is a transparent overlay for many existing products that hundreds of thousands of people use currently.

Here is the issue… nobody will ever use it. Why? The UI.

Today we are all used to things being amazingly easy. Apple was the first to give us products that although perhaps not truly easy to use, looked and felt easy to use! That’s the key. Make life easier for somebody! Make it simple… or at least FEEL simple AND fill their need and you will have won them over.

You can give somebody the most powerful, chock-full-of-ingredients tool in the world, but if they can’t get it rolling without an instruction booklet or how-to video, you have lost them… Ikea furniture and Christmas morning tricycles not-withstanding since those are obligatory items we must have no matter the inescapable difficulty.

But, when it comes to online products there are just way too many of them out there (I know, I know… nothing is as good as yours!) to offer people something that isn’t incredibly intuitive and easy to use. They will just install something else as soon as they become frustrated. It’s just that easy with digital products at an ever-growing high and today’s super speedy download times.

So what makes a great UI?

Well, we talked a bit about the KISS factor (keep it simple, stupid) already, but what does that mean? Yes, there really are standards, but everything varies from product to product and audience to audience. What will work with one target group may not work with another (this also holds true in the same industries with slightly different target audiences – think Pepsi and Coke for example), so don’t read this or any article (although 7 unbreakable laws of user interface design is a very good go-to for UI tidbits) and think you can build the perfect UI on your own!

Also, remember TIME CHANGES EVERYTHING! People interact with all things digital very differently now than they did even 6 months ago. Don’t get stuck! Grow, change and evolve! Everything is in beta when it comes to Interactive!

For now though, here are a few things that should help:

  • Noticeable call to action buttons in stand-out colors for the main “actions” a person needs to take to get what they need
  • Make sure those CTAs (calls to action) are at the point of action
  • Also make sure those CTAs are actual ACTIONS (eg: Buy Now, Save and Exit, DO IT NOW!, etc.)
  • Simple fonts and focus
  • Make it visually attractive (but stylish based on brand, message and audience)
  • Keep icons obvious (don’t make people click around until they figure it out)
  • Break it down when there are more than a few steps (especially important for purchasing, shopping carts, registrations, etc.)
  • Don’t ask too much! The fewer questions, requirements the better
  • Add social for virality but do it AFTER the user gets what they need
  • Make it even easier for your user by using Google or facebook login options, if possible (no, I’m not promoting Vimeo – they don’t need me for that), just showing you their login options)

This is far from a complete set of items that you may or may not incorporate into your Interactive products design, but it’s a start.

Here are a few more good places for more thoughts and ideas: