Top 10 UI Best Practices

Unveil the cornerstone principles of effective UI design with our comprehensive guide. Explore 10 crucial practices that promise to transform your website's interface, making it more engaging and user-friendly. Whether it's understanding the power of contrast or the subtleties of text overlay, these insights are your key to creating a memorable online presence.

Top 10 UI Best Practices

Did you know that 94 percent of first impressions are design-related?

A well-designed user interface (UI) is vital in helping you make a great first impression on new visitors. It also encourages them to come back to your website again in the future.

What factors should you consider when working on your website’s UI? Discover ten essential UI best practices below.

1. All Design Is Just Idioms

Idioms are frequently defined as commonly used expressions or patterns with established meanings. With this definition in mind, there is a strong parallel to the design world.

Design often relies on reused solutions or patterns that have proven effective in similar situations. For example, using a red stop sign or a hamburger icon relies on shared understanding to convey specific messages.

User interface design is no exception to this rule. Repetition is critical in designing websites people want to revisit and engage with.

2. Color Is Subjective, Contrast is Objective

There’s a lot of room for experimentation regarding the colors you use in your website’s user interface design. One of the most important rules to remember is the importance of contrast.

Contrast plays a crucial role in web design for several important reasons, including the following:

Accessibility: People with visual impairments, color blindness, or low vision might struggle to read text or distinguish elements if there's insufficient contrast between them.

Clarity and hierarchy: Contrast helps users understand the structure and importance of information on a page.

Focus and attention: Well-placed contrast draws attention to critical elements and guides users through the desired interaction flow

Visual interest: Contrast creates visual variety, preventing your website from looking flat and dull.

Memorability: Strong contrast can help certain elements stand out and make a lasting impression on users

3. Light Comes from Above

As we all know, light comes from above and casts shadows on the underside of objects. This same rule should apply to your website’s UI design.

Shadows placed in realistic locations (i.e., on the underside of various UI elements) can significantly impact your overall design. Here are some of the top reasons why correctly placed shadows matter:

Adding depth and dimension: By mimicking real-world light and shadow effects, shadows add depth to flat elements and create a sense of realism, making a website feel more engaging and interactive.

Establishing hierarchy and focus: Shadows can highlight essential elements like buttons, calls to action, and headings, drawing the user's eye and conveying their relative importance within the information hierarchy.

Improving readability: Subtle shadows can create separation between elements, especially text and backgrounds, making them easier to read and comprehend. This is particularly important for users with visual impairments.

Guiding user interaction: Shadows can subtly hint at interactivity, suggesting that an element is clickable or has an associated action. This improves user flow and reduces confusion.

Creating visual interest and personality: Used creatively, shadows can add visual interest and personality to a website design, contributing to its overall brand identity and aesthetic appeal.

4. Start with Black and White Design

A good rule of thumb is to avoid adding color until you’ve finished the initial design process. When you first design in black and white, you avoid distractions and efficiently handle the most complex part of website design -- creating a beautiful and user-friendly platform.

Once you’re happy with the design and flow of the website, you can start adding color. Even then, it’s also important to add color with purpose. Too much color, especially if not incorporated carefully and intentionally, can make your site overwhelming and more challenging to navigate.

5. Double Your Whitespace

In web design, whitespace, or negative space, refers to the empty areas between elements on a webpage. Despite the name, whitespace doesn't have to be white – it can be any color, pattern, or image. The essential characteristic is that it's not filled with the page's main content.

Whatever amount of whitespace you’re currently working with, double it (at a minimum).

Whitespace improves readability and creates a visual hierarchy that guides the user’s eye to the most critical information. It also introduces a sense of balance, reduces cognitive load, and makes it easier for people to navigate your website without feeling overwhelmed.

6. Learn How to Overlay Text on Images

A key component of good web design is appropriately overlaying text on images. We’ve all seen websites where this is done poorly -- you can tell because you struggle to read the text. After all, it blends in with the background image.

There are a few different ways you can correctly overlay text on images, including the following:

Add a dark overlay: If your original image isn’t dark enough to create sufficient contrast, add a dark overlay on top of it. This makes light-colored text much easier to read.

Add text in a box: Text in a box is another simple way to make your text pop and prevent it from getting lost in the image below it.

Blur the image: Blurring the picture underneath the text can make it more legible.

7. Style Text in Contrasting Ways

You have many options when it comes to styling text to stand out. Here are some of the most popular methods:

• Size (make it bigger or smaller)

• Color (create more or less contrast)

• Font weight (make it bolder or thinner)

• Font style (draw attention to a particular word/phrase by changing the font)

• Capitalization (experiment with lowercase, UPPERCASE, and Title Case)

• Italicization

• Letter spacing

8. Choose the Right Fonts

You might be tempted to pick the most distinctive font you can find for your website. However, inmost cases, it’s better to stick with something simple, clean, and easy to read.

After all, it doesn’t matter how fantastic your font is if nobody knows what you’re trying to say.

Remember, too, that you should pick fonts readily available on various devices, browsers, etc. Examples of web-safe fonts include Arial, Verdana, and Helvetica.

9. Take Inspiration from Others

While you want your site to look unique and align with your brand, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel regarding your website’s user interface design.

It’s okay to cherry-pick certain elements that you like from other websites and make them your own -- especially when you’re at the beginning of your user interface design journey. For example, if you love how one site overlays text over images, find a way to do something similar for your site.

10. Partner with Professionals

If you don’t have the time to handle your website’s design, consider partnering with a professional designer.

The best designers are familiar with all the best practices shared above and will ensure your website abides by them. They’ll also help you create a unique website that reflects your brand values and catches your target audience’s eye.

Level Up Your UI Design with NUMI

Good user interface design significantly impacts your website’s overall look and feel. Follow the guidelines above to ensure you’re making a solid impression on your visitors and encouraging them to stick around and learn more about your business.

Do you want to partner with a professional designer to help you level up your UI design? If so, NUMI is here for you. Reach out and hire a designer today.

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