User interfaces are the access points where users interact with designs. They come in three formats:
- Graphical user interfaces (GUIs)—Users interact with visual representations on digital control panels. A computer’s desktop is a GUI.
- Voice-controlled interfaces (VUIs)—Users interact with these through their voices. Most smart assistants—e.g., Siri on iPhone and Alexa on Amazon devices—are VUIs.
- Gesture-based interfaces—Users engage with 3D design spaces through bodily motions: e.g., in virtual reality (VR) games.
To design UIs best, you should consider:
- Users judge designs quickly and care about usability and likeability.
- They don’t care about your design, but about getting their tasks done easily and with minimum effort.
- Your design should therefore be “invisible”: Users shouldn’t focus on it but on completing tasks: e.g., ordering pizza on Domino’s Zero Click app.
- So, understand your users’ contexts and task flows (which you can find from, e.g., customer journey maps), to fine-tune the best, most intuitive UIs that deliver seamless experiences.
- UIs should also be enjoyable (or at least satisfying and frustration-free).
- When your design predicts users’ needs, they can enjoy more personalized and immersive experiences. Delight them, and they’ll keep returning.
- Where appropriate, elements of gamification can make your design more fun.
- UIs should communicate brand values and reinforce users’ trust.
- Good design is emotional design. Users associate good feelings with brands that speak to them at all levels and keep the magic of pleasurable, seamless experiences alive.