The term ‘user-friendly experience’ is often used to describe design that focuses on the user, but what does that mean exactly? What are some of the human considerations that designers take into account when creating a website? And what are specific design principles that help to create a friendly user experience?
Design a User-Friendly Experience
We’ve created this post to highlight some of the deeper design considerations for creating a website that works for the user.
- Hick’s Law: This principle helps simplify a user’s decision by reducing the available options. Designers should aim to simplify choices and reduce cognitive load by presenting the information clearly. By facilitating the decision-making process, designers can also help increase conversion rates while improving the overall experience.
- Fitts’s Law: Fitts’s Law is a predictive model of human movement that determines the optimal size of elements and the distance between the elements. This comes into design regarding interactive features, such as the size of buttons and links, and ensuring they’re positioned in easily reachable areas to enhance usability.
- Gestalt Principles: These principles describe how humans perceive and organise visual information. They include principles like proximity (elements that are close together are perceived as belonging together), similarity (grouping similar elements), and closure (the tendency to complete incomplete shapes or patterns mentally). Designers can leverage these principles to create cohesive and intuitive interfaces.
- Colour Psychology: Colours are famous for having psychological associations that impact user perceptions and emotions. For example, warm colours like red and orange can evoke passion and excitement, while cool colours like blue and green can create a sense of calm. Aside from using the appropriate brand colour scheme, designers should consider the psychological impact of colours and use them strategically to convey the desired mood or message.
05. Visual Hierarchy: People naturally scan and process visual information in a specific order. Designers can use techniques such as size, colour, contrast, and placement to create a clear visual hierarchy, guiding users’ attention to the most critical elements on the screen. If visual hierarchy is done well, the reader will enjoy the content on the page without much thought. When done poorly, on the other hand, the user experience is jarring and feels unnatural. An example would be two similarly sized images competing side by side, leaving the user unsure which image they should focus on first.
06. Cognitive Load: Cognitive load refers to the mental effort a user requires to process information. Designers should strive to minimise the cognitive load by simplifying complex tasks, reducing distractions, and providing clear instructions or cues to facilitate easy information processing. The point here isn’t to avoid layered and challenging design but to remove complications where there doesn’t need to be a complication. It needs to go if it doesn’t contribute to the overall experience. It can only be a barrier.
07. User Feedback and Error Prevention: Providing immediate and meaningful feedback on users’ actions helps them understand the system’s response and confirms their actions were successful. Additionally, designers should implement error prevention mechanisms by anticipating and mitigating potential user errors through straightforward design, error messages, and undo functionality.
08. Social Proof: People tend to rely on others’ actions and opinions when making decisions. By including social proof elements, such as testimonials, ratings, or user reviews, the designer can help build trust and positively influence users.
Designers could use this list to share with their clients whenever asked, “What is good user experience?” or “How will you improve the user experience of my website?”
These principles are only guidelines, though. Every design depends on its context, target audience, and overall team goals. Also, every rule can be broken when it improves the overall work by doing so. But, incorporating some or all of these psychological insights into the design process can help create more engaging, intuitive, and user-centred experiences.
Now we’ve shared, do with them what you will. It’s your world to design.