User Interface Design Principles

Posted November 21, 2014 by   in Content Marketing, Marketing Strategy, User Experience, Web Design, Web Design Strategy


A great website is much more than just a pretty page on the Internet. It serves a purpose; to engage its users in such a way that a specific goal, which is relative to the business the website is representing, is achieved for both said user and the business. Whether the goal is a form submission, donation, or purchase order, this is done by planning out and creating a user interface (UI), or in other words, by paving a very direct and simple path for conversion. A user interface that achieves the business goals of a website does not happen by coincidence; there are user interface design principles that must be kept in mind during the web design and development process.

Design Principles of ui

While this is not a definitive list in order from most important to least important for building a successful user interface, it lists out a few aspects that absolutely cannot be ignored and must be kept in mind when beginning the process of laying out your business’s website.

Create Visual Hierarchy

In order to create visual hierarchy, the elements on a every page need to be laid out in a way that allows the user to focus on what’s most important first based on the the goal of that page, and then follow a path of things in order of importance. This doesn’t just mean that the most important element or content needs to be at the very top, but it needs to be more visually appealing than the secondary elements so that the user’s eye is drawn to it first. This can be done in many ways, but a good designer knows how to manipulate colors, typography and images to create visual hierarchy.

Use One Primary Action Per Page

Each page on your website should have only one primary action for the user to take. The planned flow of content will dictate what the call to action will be. Choosing the primary action for each page will also help determine the visual hierarchy mentioned above. This action should be clear to the user by using visual clues in a way that the user doesn’t have to think about it, in turn, making it seem completely natural.

Keep It Simple to Eliminate Interruption

A great user interface is one that is not complex and does not contain unnecessary elements that could possible confuse the user, draw their attention away from what’s most important or cause cognitive overload. When mapping out or designing a page, the question, “Does the user actually need to see this?” should be asked about every single element. If the answer is no, then the element should not be present on the page. The designer must keep in mind that a user’s attention span may not last long enough for them to see all of the visual elements that you want them to see.

Maintain Consistency & Convention

When all elements on a website are consistent, simple and conventional, the user will feel empowered because they will feel like they are in control of what’s happening. Empowering the user will make them feel confident when interacting with the interface and increase their confidence and trust with your business, which will increase the likelihood of them reaching the goal(s) that your business has set forth with the website.

Testing The Principles

The great thing about websites is that they aren’t written in stone; they are dynamic and ever changing. There are also tools out there that help track and show the path that users are taking through the website. So, if the results are undesirable, certain elements of the website can be rearranged or even removed to create an even better user interface.