What is UI design?
People often feel overwhelmed when considering user interface design, as it can feel like a lot to try and get to grips with. Ultimately, user interface design is a specialisation of web design, and the user interface (UI) is an important component in a software product. Successful designs will use a combination of features such as impressive visual elements like icons, buttons, typography, animations and a good layout, as well as incorporating usability best practices to improve user experiences on the application, websites, or other digital platforms.
Most designers and developers will use interface design principles, or heuristics, as a guide to inform their design decisions when faced with the task of creating user interface designs, increasing their chances of success when designing UI. These principles often include giving users a variety of options, thus giving them a sense of control through interactive elements. Popular rules designers will also follow include maintaining consistency across the online space and making interaction with products unproblematic and enjoyable for users with responsive design.
When it comes to website design, there are two specialisations that often get incorrectly used, interchangeably: UI and UX design. UX design is an abbreviation of ‘user experience’, which essentially refers to the interaction between the user and a product or service, such as a website. As such, UX design works on improving the overall feel of the experience and the quality of the interaction.
On the other hand, UI design refers to ‘user interface’, and primarily considers the look, feel, and interactivity of a website design. This digital practice looks at the visual and interactive elements of a website design or interface.
UI design and UX design work closely together, as both elements are important components of a software product. Put simply, and analogically, UI design is what you need to play an instrument: the straps, picks, reeds, and so on; whereas UX design is the feeling you get when you play it!
Therefore, it is impossible to have an effective UI design service that doesn’t consider UX design, too. At Design Cloud, our designers consider all aspects of website design, including UI UX design, to ensure the final result is unproblematic, responsive, and enjoyable.
The main difference between UI and UX design? UI focuses on the aesthetic elements through which users interact with a product or website, whereas UX refers to the experience the user has whilst using it.
Applying this to real-world projects means that the UI design process looks at visual elements such as typography, colours, menu bars, and much more. Our graphic designers might use a sketch, sketch kit, or use an example from our sketch library to work with you on your tailored UI design.
However, UX design always comes first. Establishing a foundation, figuring out how every page relates to the next, choosing the best location for the direction button, and ensuring that users have a smooth journey through the product is vital.
If this is not done correctly, it can lead to many errors and error messages, and a poor user experience. For seamless experiences, our designers use clickable prototypes to build lifelike models of the website that can be tried and tested.
After you have laid the foundation with UX, you can move on to UI design tools that focus on visual design. Whether you prefer asymmetrical or basic layouts for your screen, introductory videos, or 10th usability heuristic 3-minute video, you can work with your personally assigned motion graphics designer and UI designer to create the perfect solution for you.
When you are considering things like layouts, design systems, and digital product design, it is crucial to consider how the UI operates on a multitude of different screens and devices. As most people now use their smartphone as their primary device, it is essential to consider mobile UI design, paying particular attention to Android and Apple design resources.
According to GlobalStats, whilst the most common screen resolution or desktop screen in the UK is 1920 x 1080, the average UK tablet has a screen resolution of 768 x 1024, and smartphones’ most popular resolution is 414 x 896. Therefore, error prevention and error management, means that mobile design and your overall screen layout should be discussed in detail with your assigned UI designer from our UI design company.
But how do UI and UX work together for website design?
For many business owners, your brand’s website serves as a portfolio project, letting consumers know more about your business, your brand’s values and views, and, of course, about the products and services you offer.
Though both UX and UI are their own design disciplines, they have a similar focus, both of which contribute to an awesome end product. With UI and UX design, one is simply not complete without the other.
Whilst they focus on different aspects of a website design, UI and UX design work together as a collective process. This means that websites or other digital software are not as effective when either the UX or UI design is lacking.
For example, looking at real-world projects, let’s look at adding a web chat function to a webpage. This means that the homepage layout needs to be changed. It is down to the UX designer to work out how best to incorporate the chat function, whereas it is up to the UI designer to change their page design to include the new layout and the additional chat function.
However, if the UI and UX design doesn’t work together, the chat function could look incredible but be difficult to locate. Or, conversely, it could provide a great user experience, but not fit into the aesthetics of the overall page.
As you can see, this means that UI and UX design must work together seamlessly to provide exciting experiences for stakeholders who interact with your digital product.
The different types of user interfaces
Web user interfaces allow a user to interact with software or content that is run on a remote server through a web browser. This content, or web page, is downloaded from the server, and the user can interact with the content in a browser, which acts as a client.
The most common applications of a web user interface include email, online shopping, online document sharing and editing, social media, and instant messaging. As they are hosted online, this means you can gather a lot of data about what works and what doesn’t.
Over the years, many ways of interacting with computer systems have evolved. How we interact with these systems is what we call a user interface, which are the features of a computer system that allows us to interact with it.
User interfaces comprise both hardware and software components, handling the interaction between the user and system, and translating motions and words into actionable commands that the computer can execute.
There are five main user interfaces, which we will explain in more detail. These user interfaces are:
– Command-line (CLI)
– Graphical user interface (GUI)
– Menu-driven (MDI)
– Form-based (FBI)
– Natural language (NLI)
Command Line Interface
The command-line interface is potentially the most traditional or classic interface out there. In other words, these interfaces are the oldest of the five main types of user interfaces. Through the command-line interface, users can interact with a system or application by typing in commands.
Once the system responds to the text, the user can type in another command on the next line that appears. Through repeated commands and responses, the user can get the system or programme to execute a series of commands.
However, the drawback of a command-line interface is that the operator is required to remember a range of different commands, and so might only be utilised to its full potential by a professional programmer.
Graphical User Interface
You may have heard of graphical user interfaces referred to as WIMP, as they use Windows, Icons, Menus, and Pointers. The operator will use a mouse, touchpad, or trackball to control an on-screen pointer, which can then be used to interact with other on-screen features.
This allows users to interact with devices and functions through graphical icons, visual indicators, and secondary notations. The easiest way you might visualise a graphical user interface is by thinking about Microsoft Word, for example.
The term was created in the 1970s to differentiate graphical interfaces from text-based interfaces. However, the majority of all modern digital interfaces are now graphical user models.
Menu Driven Interface
In real-world projects, a menu-driven interface is most commonly seen and interacted with in cash machines, automated services, ticket machines, and information kiosks. This is because they provide an easy-to-use and simple interface that a user can operate by pressing buttons.
The interface consists of a series of menus and submenus which can be accessed by the action of pressing a physical or touch screen button.
Form-based interfaces use text boxes, drop-down menus, checkboxes, text areas and radio boxes to create an electronic form. The user of the system will need to complete the electronic form, which enters data into a system.
Looking at real-world projects, a form-based interface might be used to gather information or data from a user of a website. It may also be used in a call centre to allow customer service agents to quickly enter any information gathered over the phone.
Natural Language Interface
Otherwise known as a conversational interface, a natural language interface allows the user to interact with the software by talking to it. The best example of this is voice recognition on your smartphone.
The interface simulates having a conversation with the computer. If you ask a question, you will receive a response, or you can easily input voice commands.
Bonus Interface: Gesture Driven
The most recent developments in user interfaces have resulted in the development of gesture-driven interfaces. Though not widespread through a lot of operating systems, gesture-driven interfaces are particularly popular for playing video games, such as on the Wii gaming console.
Physical human motion and gestures are detected by a sensor, camera, or computer, which determines what the user wants to do. Another example of gesture-driven interfaces is the use of touchscreen on devices, such as the swiping and pinching to move things around, and zoom in and out.
The components of UI design
When starting on your UI design, many different elements need to be considered and agreed upon to ensure that your design is consistent, user-friendly and working correctly.
According to the official US Government sector for usability services, the list included below contains the most critical user interface elements that need to be considered. Usability.gov also recommends that your interface should be consistent and predictable so that consumers can be comfortable navigating your site, and to ensure accessibility for all.
Considering the following components will help with task completion, efficiency, and overall satisfaction.
– Checkboxes – Allows users to select one or more options from a set, usually as a single columned vertical list.
– Radio buttons – Buttons are used to allow users to select one item at a time, such as ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.
– Dropdown lists – Allows users to select one item at a time but are more compact and space-saving than a radio button if you have several options
– List boxes – Similar to checkboxes, list boxes allow users to select multiple items at once but can compact a longer list of options.
– Buttons – Indicates an action, which is usually labelled using text or an icon.
– Toggles – Allows users to change a setting between two states, such as ‘On’ and ‘Off’.
– Text fields – Users can enter single or multiple lines of text.
– Date Field – This is usually a date and/or time picker, consistently formatting and inputting the selected fields into the system.
– Breadcrumb – This allows users to identify their current location on the webpage by providing a clickable trail of how they got there.
– Slider – A slider might be used when the user needs to set an adjustable value, such as a minimum and maximum price range whilst online shopping.
– Search field – Just as it sounds, the search field allows users to search for a keyword or phrase and is accompanied by a ‘Search’ button.
– Pagination – Divides content between pages, allowing users to skip between pages or go through in page order.
– Tags – Allows users to find content in the same, or a similar, category.
– Icons – Typically hyperlinked to the corresponding page, icons are intuitive signals that are used to help users navigate the website.
– Tooltips – This is where you get a pop-up hint or tip when you hover over an item.
– Progress bar – Progress bars indicate where a user is within a process, such as when completing a purchase.
– Notifications – These pop-up indicators usually show users the success of a task, such as a message to confirm a purchase, or an error or warning message.
– Message boxes – Message boxes are small windows that inform users of something, requiring them to ‘Agree’, for example, before they can continue.
– Modal windows – A modal window is a traditional pop-up, requiring user interaction before they can return to the original page
– Accordion – An accordion is a vertically stacked list of items that utilise show and hide functionality. When the labels are clicked, the section expands to show more subcategories within.
Why effective UI is important
Effective UI design is important as it helps you to clarify your vision, determining the steps in which you need to satisfy the expectations of your target audience. Ultimately, it helps you to communicate what makes you stand out from your competitors, effectively making your mark in the industry. This will give your website more impact, and guarantee the memorability of your brand.
In addition to this, effective UI design can also help you to convert customers with ease, as it effectively guides them towards making a purchase or finding out the exact information that they need. After all, a better website than your competitor is all you need to edge towards outperforming them.
The key to a better website is by embracing simplicity so that engaging with your website is a pleasure for all stakeholders. This could be something as simple as the site remembering user information so that it doesn’t need to be continuously re-inputted at every step.
Effective UI design will also optimise your website for every screen, from your mobile smart phone to your desktop, ensuring that your site is delivering the optimum performance level to every visitor, and making sure they keep coming back.
When you design something that people want to actively engage with, they will want to continue engaging with it. Therefore, by ensuring customers come back, you will retain loyal clients and increase your overall base.
This will contribute to customer confidence in your company, as your good looking, easily navigable site will reflect on the quality of your brand. This is because good UI design helps your audience to intuitively locate exactly what they are looking for, even if they are not sure what that thing is!
Why is a UI design service important?
As UI design focuses on improving the user experience on applications, websites, or other digital platforms, it can often feel like an overwhelming concept to get to grips with. In fact, when designed correctly, users should barely be able to notice UI design at all.
Design Cloud’s UI design service aims to guide a user seamlessly and easily through your website or interface without them having to think about it. Our designers look at all visual interactive elements of your website design, including colour schemes, landing page design, layout, spacing, typography, animations, buttons, and icons.
How can we help you?
Brands that use successful UI design methods include Google, Apple, and Adobe, which are all great examples. When designed correctly, users should barely even notice user interface designs. When platforms have problematic functionality, poor usability and poor visual design, such as unnecessary elements, this will bring the user attention to the UI, but for all the wrong reasons.
Here at Design Cloud, we’re committed to creating enjoyable digital experiences. Our user interface designers use all the best practices and the best design technology to create visual experiences your users will love. From themed website landing pages, branded error messages and everything in between – there’s not much our designers can’t do here at Design Cloud. If you’re unsure, just ask!
How does Design Cloud work?
The main thing we’ll need from you before we start designing the user interface is an idea of your brand’s visual identity. We aren’t a branding agency, and so we need our customers to have an existing knowledge of their visual branding. We’ll use this information to select the best features for your user interface, keeping the branding consistent and effective throughout. If you need any inspiration or would like to take a look at our previous work, feel free to browse our portfolio.
An effective user interface design to improve your users’ experiences on your platform is achievable in just a few simple steps. The first step is to log in to the portal and submit a request to our designers. You can also do this by email if that’s an easier option. A designer will then take a look at the request for your content, and will ask any further questions, for clarity, if necessary. Your assigned designer will then get to work on creating a user interface design that your users will love, just as much as you do. Once it’s completed, the final design will be sent back to you. You’ll have the opportunity to provide feedback and can request further edits to be made.
Why choose Design Cloud for your UI design?
Our approach to offering graphic design services makes us a go-to service for businesses such as SMEs, marketing agencies and many more. We offer a simple but scalable solution to graphic design – we aren’t a design agency or a marketplace, but we offer the benefits of having in-house design teams whilst being considerably cheaper than hiring one. We have a range of packages, starting from just £549 a month, to meet your design needs. These prices are a fixed, flat fee – this gives you access to unlimited graphic design and there are no additional, hidden fees to catch you out. What you see is what you get with Design Cloud.
When will I get my design back?
Our graphic designers work tirelessly to ensure you receive your design as soon as possible. We do aim to have the work completed and returned to you within 24 hours of receiving your brief, but for more complex projects that have several elements or components to consider, this isn’t always possible. Your designer will always be transparent about the time frame though, keeping you in the loop at all times. Our users can stay up-to-date on their designer’s progress by logging into your online portal and contacting them directly.
Can I talk to my designer about the look I’m wanting?
Of course – you can work together with your designer to come to the best design decisions for your user interface design. It goes without saying that communication is key to any design project. Interaction with your designer is fundamental in our approach to graphics, ensuring efficiency and understanding throughout the process. and it’s what we rely on to deliver the very best graphic design services that money can buy. You can contact your designer directly throughout the entire design process, via our handy online portal.
Where is my assigned graphic designer based?
Your designer will be based in the UK, as with all of our team, whilst our HQ is situated in Manchester. There’s no need to worry about language barriers or time zones when working with us, meaning communication and the design process itself couldn’t be smoother. We never outsource our work either, so your designer will always be directly employed by us with at least three years of previous commercial experience – we only hire the best in the business.
How will my UI design be delivered?
Your UI design can be sent to you in a range of formats that are compatible with the relevant platforms, allowing you to select the one that best suits you. You can discuss this with your designer upon submitting a request.
Here at Design Cloud, design is, of course, what we do best. Our designers can create an intuitive design that provides a seamless experience your users will love. You can try it out for yourself by booking a demo today – this is a great way to see the effect that having unlimited graphic design at your disposal, as and when you want it, can have on your business with no strings attached.
What are the benefits of UI design by a professional website design agency in Manchester?
Having a good UI design has a number of benefits to types of companies and sectors. A poorly designed website can look as though you don’t care about user experience or accessibility. So, a smooth UI design can enhance customer confidence in your brand, increase customer retention, improve customer acquisition and boost your conversion rates.
What are the benefits of UI design by a professional website design agency in Manchester?
In the modern world, there’s more emphasis on your digital services now more than ever! This means that your website design is an opportunity for you to stand out from your competitors. Not only does this website design have to grab the customer’s attention, but it needs to hold it throughout their digital experience.
To take advantage of all of these benefits and more, look no further than Design Cloud, so that you can soon be benefitting from stunning UI design. Our designers have the power to revolutionise your digital visual identity and user experience with our UI design service.
Though this might sound like wizardry – it is just skilful design, and that is exactly what you get from the Design Cloud design agency. With unlimited graphic design for a monthly fee, Design Cloud is the best unlimited graphic design service.
Our flat-rate graphic design services ensure that you have consistency across all your promotional material and brand image, benefiting from totally unlimited graphic design in the UK from your personally assigned and dedicated team of graphic designers.