Have you ever wondered how users choose a web app? Do they care most about the ease of use, technical characteristics, or design? Most likely all three of these things influence a user’s opinion and a web app’s success. In this article, we talk in detail about the design aspect of web apps. We cover the importance of user interface design and share proven ways to make your web app interface stunning.
Why good UI matters for web apps
The user interface is one of the defining aspects of your web app’s profitability and success. With millions of web apps on the market, it’s vital to design a simple and intuitive app that meets customers’ needs. A great UI clarifies your brand vision, increases usability, improves user satisfaction and user acquisition, and makes navigating your web app a joy. Let’s consider each of these benefits in detail.
Clarifies your brand vision
Your brand vision and your web app’s UI design should be defined by your target users. When you know their behaviors and needs, you can refine your UI design and make your brand vision clearer and more appealing. This approach not only gives your vision the right direction but also helps you build an emotional connection between users and your brand.
A good UI happens when the development team has a deep understanding of how users will interact with the app. And it increases the app’s usability by refining all processes and making the app enjoyable to use. Usability combined with a perfect user interface ensures an exceptional user experience.
Improves user satisfaction
Web apps with great UIs and high usability offer a great user experience and demonstrate high user satisfaction. A properly designed UI increases user satisfaction since users can successfully complete tasks. When an app is easy to use, people will likely return to it. However, a visually appealing UI with a poor UX can leave users confused and dissatisfied. So the UI and UX should always work together to retain users.
Increases user acquisition
An easy-to-use interface in web applications is an advantage both for businesses and users. When users find a web app that solves their particular problem and works perfectly, they help you acquire even more users. Word of mouth opens more opportunities for your business.
Makes navigation a joy
A great UI is extremely simple to use. It has features and elements that are familiar to users, and all these elements are located in familiar places. A great UI doesn’t have a learning curve. When everything is clear to the user, navigation is a breeze. When all elements are properly labeled, all pages are logically organized in menus, and the user can find anything in three seconds, that’s a great UI and a great navigation experience.
Web app UI design best practices
We know that a good user interface is essential for a successful web application. But how exactly can you make a UI look and feel good? Let’s find out.
Define how people use your interface
The first thing to do before designing your web app’s interface is to define how people will use the app. To determine where you should start, here’s some useful theory. People use web apps either by directly interacting with UI elements or by indirectly interacting with external UI elements.
Your users’ behaviors and the devices they use can help you make the right design decisions. For example, if your target users are seniors, it’s better not to lean on swiping because of possible challenges with manual dexterity. Likewise, if you design for people who mostly use a keyboard, you should take into account keyboard shortcuts.
Keep it simple
This is the first and most vital rule web designers must follow today. The simpler an interface, the better the user experience and the higher the user satisfaction. Sometimes, it’s tough to make decisions about what stays and what goes in design. You might wonder how to make your web app’s UI simple but still feature-rich. Or how to implement 20 different actions on one screen. We have a solution for you. Progressive disclosure is a technique that can help you hide dozens of elements in order to not overwhelm users. This technique allows you to show users only the most important features while disclosing secondary features. Let’s look at the following example to understand how it works.
Don’t underestimate the empty state
Let’s start with a definition. The empty state is the state of your web app when no data has been entered by the user. The empty state should never be neglected in your UI since it makes the first and most important impression of your web app. A properly designed empty state retains users and encourages them to try your app. We advise you to use the empty state to give users some tips or perks. For example, the Slack app features useful onboarding messages to get users interested in Slack and explain the app’s logic.
Dropbox also has a useful approach to empty state design. They start with a Get Started tab that has a numbered list of action items, stepping the user through what they need to do to get the maximum value from Dropbox.
Heed design standards
When designing a web app interface, it’s highly recommended to follow industry design standards. Reinventing common design principles is usually a bad idea. Users get used to common actions and scenarios, so using completely different designs can increase the cognitive load. New actions and features in the interface can make users frustrated and make them leave your app. The solution is simple: follow design standards and common design practices to create UIs that users will understand. A good example of this rule is the menu bar in Google Docs, which features almost all the same options found in versions of Microsoft Word before Windows Vista.
Use visuals smartly
Visuals are powerful elements of a graphical user interface. Images and icons make your UI clear. Visuals such as icons, photos, charts, and graphs can replace data tables and barely readable blocks of text altogether. They can make data easier to read and can provide visual cues as to what a certain command does.
Provide users with instant feedback
Some UIs don’t give any feedback, leaving users unsure what to do next: restart the device, reload the page, or just close the window. Provide your users with loading animations and explanations of what to expect.
Consistency is another key rule to follow when designing an interface for a web application. Your web app should look, work, and feel like a cohesive piece of software. There’s nothing more frustrating than a web app interface created in different styles, and such interfaces cause users to get lost. Avoid too many different colors, fonts, and shapes. To make your web app consistent, choose one style and stick to it across all interface elements.
When users visit a new app, they expect to face elements and actions they’re familiar with. Follow common design standards to meet users’ expectations and make your web app consistent.
Building a good user interface is a must for a web app’s success. If you want your users to like it, start by exploring their problems, needs, and behaviors. When you know your users well, it’s easier to create a web app that’s easy and pleasant for them to use. The UGEM team is ready to make your web app look and feel perfect. Contact us to discuss all the details.