10 Reasons Why You Should Have Your User Interface Checked Before Product Launch
Want to know 10 reasons why you should have your user interface checked before product launch?
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UI: Why it’s important, and why you should design it well
While software products have been around for a while, UI wasn’t considered that important earlier. Users of software weren’t too happy about complex screens presenting equally complex tasks to them, however, they didn’t have too many choices.
The landscape of software products has become very competitive though, and now businesses must hear what users say about the UI. Many companies have shown that a great UI design is possible, and users aren’t accepting products with a sub-optimal UI.
Technology has seen quantum leaps of improvement over the past few decades. This has made designing a great UI a norm, whereas it was an exception earlier. Read more about this shift in “The importance of the user interface”.
Digital products need the following attributes to be successful in the market:
- Valuable: It must serve the relevant needs of users.
- Accessible: A software product must satisfy its intended users.
- Intentional: Software products must help users to achieve their goals by addressing their pain points.
- Intuitive: Users shouldn’t have to think much about using your software, rather they should just be able to get on with their work with it.
- Invisible: A great software product makes users think about what they want to do and not about the product itself.
- Beautiful: A successful product must feature an elegant design. Remember that this doesn’t mean a flashy design!
These attributes improve user engagement, and a great UI design enables your software to have these attributes. Read “The power of good UI and how it enhances engagement” to learn more.
Why you should check your UI before launching your product
Having covered the basics, let us take a deep dive into why checking your UI before a product launch is important. The reasons are as follows:
1. The need to maintain consistency in the UI
A key aspect of great UI design is consistency. Every element in the UI must be consistent with the overall design of the app and the UI, and this is a key reason to check your UI before launching your product.
Consistency in the UI encompasses several aspects, e.g.:
- Font type and size;
- Visual consistency;
- Dialog box consistency.
While you could opt to test your UI manually for consistency, testing tools assume importance, too. You can use one of the popular UI testing tools to check the consistency in your UI, e.g.:
I recommend that you use a combination of manual UI testing and test automation tools, which will help you to ensure that your UI is consistent. Read more about this in “A guide to GUI testing”.
2. The need to provide user-friendly navigation
Users of your app need the right navigation menu that suits the key features of your app. Navigation is key to user-friendliness due to the following reasons:
- It determines how simple and user-friendly your app is.
- Practical navigation menu designs improve the visibility of your key features, moreover, they improve the clarity of your app.
- Navigation menu designs that are consistent with your overall UI makes the app much easier to use.
As mobile devices increasingly become popular, you need to ensure that mobile users find your app to be a user-friendly one. A good mobile navigation menu design is key to this, and this is one key aspect that you should check before launching your app.
There are several popular mobile navigation menu patterns, e.g.:
- Hamburger menu;
- Tab bar menu;
- The “Priority+” menu;
- The “Floating Action Button” (FAB) pattern;
- The “Full-screen navigation” pattern;
- The “Gesture-based navigation” pattern.
You can read our guide “Mobile navigation menu examples” for more insights.
3. The need to use the right color scheme
You can do many things right while designing the UI of your app, however, that won’t work if you can’t get the color scheme right. Users of your product need a color scheme that suits the functionalities of your app. The right color scheme helps users to interact easily with the app, moreover, you should use different colors to represent different elements in the UI.
You need to test and review the UI thoroughly to ensure you have chosen the right color scheme for it. Choosing a wrong color combination in UI can put off your users, and this will drive abandonment of the app.
You can choose from various color schemes, depending on your app. For mobile apps, it’s even more important to choose the right color scheme. I have explained the popular color schemes in “8 trends in mobile app color scheme”, and they are as follows:
- Minimal color usage with focused palettes;
- High-contrast colors;
- Subtle colored shadows;
- Bright-colored iconography;
- Pastel, muted colors;
- Confine choices of colors to black, white, and grey;
- High-contrast, complimentary gradients;
- Colorful illustrations.
4. The need to follow appropriate UI design guidelines
If you are launching Android and iOS apps as part of your product, then you should follow platform-specific UI design guidelines. You should check your UI to ensure that the design team has done that.
For Android apps, Google needs you to follow its “Material Design” guidelines. Google has developed this, and the purpose was to deliver a consistent UI and “User Experience” (UX).
The company expects Android app UI designers to follow this so that Android apps don’t confuse their users. Read more about this in “Google’s material design – Android design language”.
Apple has its UI design guidelines too, and it’s called the “Human Interface Guidelines”. The company expects the app designers to follow these guidelines so that users can get the right experience from iOS apps.
You need to follow specific “Do’s and Don’ts” when designing the UI of your iOS app. Naturally, after the design, you should check whether the UI meets the usability standards that Apple promotes. Read more about this in “UI design do’s and don’ts”.
5. The need to ensure appropriate icon design
Icons play a key part in modern UI design, and their importance increases in mobile app UI design. You need to thoroughly review the UI design of your app to ensure that the icons are appropriate.
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Icons help users to quickly identify a functional feature and remember it later. You should ensure that the icons in your app meet the following criteria:
- The icon design should be restrained.
- You need to design recognizable icons.
- Your app needs icons that users can easily memorize.
- The icons should look unique, yet they should fit with the standards for apps catering to particular industries and functions.
- You should design simple icons, and they should work with different screen sizes.
- Design icons in line with the platform-specific standards and ensure consistency.
- Icons should work against multiple different backgrounds, and you should not use too many illustrations within an icon.
- Use established icon/functionality associations, e.g., an envelope for email.
Read our guide “How to design the perfect icon for your mobile app?” for more insights.
6. Ensuring the right fonts for the content in the app
You will offer content to your users, and that’s true irrespective of the nature of the app you offer. Users need to be able to read your content comfortably, and fonts play a key part here.
You need to carefully review the UI of your app to ensure that the fonts are appropriate for the kind of content you offer. Focus on the following aspects:
- Headings: Your content must attract the attention of your users, therefore, your UI design team must focus on the heading.
- Body text: While headings attract users to your content, body texts retain the attention of users. Review your UI design to ensure the right fonts are used for the body texts.
- Custom fonts: If you are using custom fonts to differentiate how your content stands out, then check to make sure that users receive it well.
- Mobile: Make allowance for the fact that mobile screens are smaller.
- Colors: Use colors that contrast well with the background, however, maintain consistency with the overall UI design.
Read more about this in “Web fonts are critical to the online user experience – don’t hurt your reader’s eyes”.
7. Ensure that the UI design relies on recognition than recall
Short-term human memory has its limitations. Your UI design team should keep this in mind, and you should check your UI to ensure that they do.
The UI of your app should minimize “Cognitive load”. The UI should maintain the information relevant to a task within the display. This enables users to employ recognition, which is easier than recalling information that they may have seen on another screen.
Recognition utilizes cues that make users reach their vast long-term memory to unearth relevant information, therefore, their dependence on their short-term memory reduces. Read “User interface design guidelines: 10 rules of thumb” to learn more about this, and check your UI to ensure the design uses recognition.
8. The need to avoid clutter
You should design the UI of your app in a way that you don’t clutter the UI. Clutter isn’t good on a desktop. The problems with clutter increase manifold on mobile since the screen is smaller.
You need to thoroughly check your UI to ensure that it’s free from clutter. Remember to keep the following in mind when designing a clutter-free UI:
- Present only the content that users need.
- Don’t crowd the screen with unnecessary UI elements.
- Display more content after users interact with the app. This is the “Progressive disclosure” technique, and it helps to design clutter-free UI.
Read more about this in “A comprehensive guide to mobile app design”.
9. Minimizing typing on the part of users
Typing on a desktop screen is comfortable enough, however, most users might not want to type too much while using your app on their desktop. It gets worse when users are using your mobile app! It’s hard to type on mobile screens.
Your UI design should minimize typing on the part of users, and you should pay special attention to this when designing a mobile app UI. Check your UI design carefully to ensure that your users don’t need to type a lot.
Use the following guidelines:
- Ask your users only what you need to know, and keep forms as short as you can.
- Make data entry easier for your users, e.g., provide choices instead of asking users to type. You can also prefill fields with the most likely default value, which will reduce the typing effort on the part of users.
Read “10 do’s and dont’s of mobile app design” for more insights.
10. Ensure that you prioritize your features
Are you offering more than one key feature in your app? That may be fine for your business model, however, remember that too many features in an app can confuse users.
Launching your software product?
This guide certainly prepares you to check your UI design before you launch your product. While UI is important, a successful app needs more than that.
You need to develop the app using the most suitable architecture, technology stack, and guidelines. That calls for considerable expertise, therefore, engage a reputed software development company for such projects. Read our guide “How to find the best software development company?” to find one.