Hi, I’m Brian Dys — a photographer from the inside looking out · a composer entangled in electronic music · a UX designer · a spouse, a parent, & everything in between.
Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.An aphorism attributed to Albert Einstein.
But how could you determine if the UI you designed could (and should) be made optimally simpler — meaning can still be made more simple than the current without losing anything of value to the users (and while adding more value as well)?
First, market data
Given that the product is in the market already, gather insights on the usage of the product and the UI’s role in it.
Are there complaints pertaining to a particular screen / page? Look deeper into those.
One thing’s for sure about the Cancel action in a form: it is a negative within the context of Proceed as the positive.
Then again, in the context of what the user’s goal is, the positive and negative may be one or the other.
For example, in a 5-step interaction to fully complete the user’s profile, of course, as the designer, the positive action for you is the Proceed until the 5 steps are completed.
However, this depends on the user. Say user reached step 5 and a personal information is being asked and it’s not agreeable, then what could be a positive interaction for him/her?
A Cancel or a Skip & Save?
To keep it simple, design with the user’s best interest in mind.
There are many different kinds of interaction in an information environment like web pages.
Clicking and scrolling are just two of them. And both have different mental models when accessing information.
One limitation of any information environment is that there’s only a limited number of information that can be displayed all at once, at the same time. Besides, a user could focus only on a limited number of information at once.
Clicking and scrolling could be combined, though, to optimize the interaction—meaning, the easier for the user to perceive and get to the information, the better.
Good UX design is more of influencing the users’ moods and behaviors than controlling or manipulating their minds.
Styling in CSS is always dependent on the structure of HTML. If you have control over the structure of HTML, plan to redesign it also.
A good rule of thumb is to first, set up a system.
- Usability and Accessibility (e.g., making a link’s target area large enough for touch or pointing device, making the structure of HTML accessible to screen readers)
- Visual Design
- Nature (style of the element as a standalone)
- Layout (style of the element in relation to other elements)
- Colors (with nature and layout alone, the design should be able to work even in black and white colors)
- Graphics (border, border-radius, box-shadow)
- Typography (style of text)
- Transitions and Animations
You could notice that this system is designed to build on top of the previous one. Meaning usability and accessibility come first before visual design. The same goes for the considerations under visual design.
Do you see web design laying down the curb, breathing its last breath?
It’s true that the term “web design” is rarely heard in job postings and in the industry simply because every thing connected to it has moved on.
Primarily the technology in which we access the web. It has gone from the big bulky desktop computer to mobile phones to other things that are connected to the internet.
Along with the capabilities of these technologies are the enablement of people to accomplish tasks using our mobile and wearable devices.
The designers aren’t designing solely for websites anymore but in a bigger picture, for experiences.
In this regard that business owners could lean more towards getting their presence online using a “10-dollar template” than being heavy on their brand using a custom design. Hey, they could even do it themselves through Wix or Squarespace.
As a designer, don’t go convincing people that a custom design is better than templated design. Go with the flow of progress. Think “UX design”.