As we’ve mentioned before in our article on Top 10 questions around UX and UI, User Interface design revolves around the various screens and sensory touch points through which a user engages with the application. Hence the UI design process will differ from product to product depending on the user we’re hoping to cater to. While designing the interface the UI designer has to put on the hat of an astute visualizer and observe the way people behave. There is no defined process for UI in the industry, however, design veterans plan the product development in the following way:
Understanding Brand and establishing mental and emotional connect
UI designers need to understand the brand, why it exists, what’s the personality of the brand, who are the users, what are the user’s preferences, and set a language that can establish an instant conscious and subconscious connection with the users. There can be two companies that provide a similar service, for example, Apple and IBM, but the target audience is different. The former is popular among visual creators and artists while the later is more popular amongst corporates and professionals. This difference is consciously communicated through the visual design of the website and applications.
It’s important for UI designers to work parallelly with UX and development teams to be able to design interactions, micro-interactions, or come up with the ideas of presenting the data in an easy to consume format. They need to understand the concepts of page speed, the screen size, the limitations of the platform, and the opportunities to be able to design innovative and usable digital products. UI cannot work in isolation, it has to complement UX design of the website to make sense to the user.
Styling the interface
UI designers also have to pick a style palette based on the unique tastes and preferences of the target audience. The style guide varies on the basis of the type of industry, age of target users, geographical location and estimated usage anticipated. Fonts, color, shapes of the button are handpicked for better impact and incorporated in the brand design. UI designers need to consider each individual screen as a separate entity from the user point of view. They need to ask- what will be placed where? What should be the spacing between individual elements? How much white space is needed? How responsive the design is and so on. What colors will work? How should we personalise the typography? Interactivity between different visuals stakeholders must also be quantified and optimised.
Sampling and feedback
A prototype of the product is created and circulated for sampling within the target audience. Getting feedback at this stage can generate crucial insights on how user behavior is actually shaping up as compared to what was imagined. Is there a piece of the puzzle that’s missing? Is the color too bold? Is the text readable? Are the designs responsive? Initial iterations to interface design can be made to add or remove elements wherever necessary.
The brand palette, the fonts, color scheme and typography are all visual elements through which the product communicates with the users. A UI designer strategises and executes the style and placement of these elements to beautify the interface and make it more appealing to the user. All in all a UI designer accentuates the aesthetic appeal of a website or app by implementing UI design principles to create a memorable impression in the mind of the end user. You can read about UI principles in detail here.