UI forms the face of the application. Not only it has to look good but it should also allow user to achieve their goals with lesser confusion. While designing any UI, few basic points can transform any UI from good to Great!
Below are few broad rules of thumb which can be applied to improve usability of a user interface.
Simplicity and clarity
The best interfaces are easy to use without having to spend too much time on trying to figure out the interface. UI design should be simple, clear and user-friendly. Simplicity involves inclusion of main elements and avoiding unnecessary ones, clear use of icons, symbols without any ambiguity.
Consistency in user interface design helps in predicting what will happen before performing an action. The use of common UI elements while designing makes the user comfortable and hence things are done quickly. Also, same action should result in same effect. This makes users comfortable and confident about the system and puts them at ease of adopting new features.
Aesthetics is about the visual appeal of the interface. It includes consideration of alignment, grouping of related elements together, use of colors, spacing between various elements..
Gamification is “the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems”.Gamifying any UI can make it more interesting but unnecessarily inclusion can be avoided. The aim is not to transform our products into games but to implement the concept of making it more engaging to the user.
The system should communicate within reasonable times to the user of what is going on. This helps user to be ‘in control’ of what is going on when the control is temporarily with the system. Cues like Hourglass, wait indicator etc. can be used for events where backend processing is going on. Also, error or warning messages should precisely communicate the problem and suggest the possible solutions.