According to the Online Marketing Institute, 83% of users will leave a website if they don't like its design interface, and 40% of them will never come back–that's almost one half of your customers lost immediately.
This is why a user-friendly interface is vital to the success of your app or website. Ideally, you should utilize professional UI and UX design services to ensure the interface is effective. If you're doing this in-house, this article will explain what a user-friendly interface means and what you should keep in mind when designing your interface.
What does having a user-friendly interface entail?
A user-friendly interface is one that is easy to use and navigate. It is self explanatory and doesn't require the user to put in much effort to figure out how to use it. The goal of a good user interface is to make the user's experience as seamless as possible; ideally, they should be able to achieve their desired task without any difficulty and in the least amount of time possible.
For example, take the process of creating a new account on Facebook. It's a simple and straightforward process that doesn't require much effort on the part of the user to set up–they just need to fill in a few basic details and they're good to go. Contrast this with the process of creating a new account on a banking website, which is often much more complicated and time consuming. The user has to go through a series of different steps before they can finally create their account.
The banking website's interface is not nearly as user friendly as Facebook's because the designers of the banking website did not keep the user's experience in mind while designing the interface, showing the role of usability in website design.
What are the principles of creating a user-friendly interface?
There are several key principles to keep in mind when designing your interface:
- Keep it simple. To be easy to understand and use, the interface should be free of clutter and unnecessary elements.
- Be consistent. The interface should use the same terminology and design elements throughout the app or website.
- Give feedback. The interface should provide feedback to the user. For example, if they click on a button, there should be some indication that the button has been clicked and an action is happening as a result.
- Use familiar conventions. It’s not hard to use familiar conventions in your interface. For example, the back button should be placed in the top left corner of the screen where it is usually found on other sites and apps.
- Anticipate user needs. The interface should anticipate the user's needs when they are interacting with it. For example, if they're filling out a form, the next field should automatically be shown once they've completed the current field.
- Make it easy to recover from mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, and your interface should make it easy for the user to recover from mistakes. For example, if they accidentally delete something, there should be an Undo button.
- Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors–If someone makes a mistake when interacting with your interface, they need to be able to figure it out and move on. For example, if a required field is not filled out, the error should be displayed in red and be easy to correct.
- Design for different levels of expertise. It’s probable that users with different levels of expertise will use an app or website and they should all be able to navigate your interface. There should be a beginner mode and an expert mode for certain features, if possible and applicable.
- Be flexible. The interface should be able to adapt to different screen sizes and resolutions.
- Usability testing. The interface should be tested for usability, which can be done by conducting user studies or A/B testing.
As you can see, creating a user-friendly interface is not a simple task. It requires careful planning and design. However, if you keep the basic features of a good user interface in mind, you will be well on your way to designing an interface that is easy to use and navigate.