Principles of Good User Interface Design and 10 Common UX Design Mistakes

Whether you are practicing a User Experience Design strategy or not, the following list may be helpful in reflection over your current and future application development projects. UX and design needs to touch on many aspects during the process including: a focus on user experience, user interface / visual design, icon design, interaction design, information architecture, and usability research.

UX from esri
Esri: UX/UI Principles – The principles of user interface design are intended to improve the quality of user interface design

Did you know that UX and User design is hugely important to Esri and in the planning and development of ArcGIS. Esri User Experience Improvement (EUEI) allows all of Esri’s customers to contribute to the design and development of ArcGIS. EUEI collects information about how customers use ArcGIS and some of the problems that they encounter. Participation in EUEI is completely voluntary. You can read more and get some fine advice and suggestions from Esri in this document.

Moving forward, as developers of popular apps for ArcGIS Online  including Mapfolio and Admin Tools, the principles of design are inherently important to our developers. Providing a pleasant, simple to use experience for our clients and users is always a top priority and is crucial in order to deploy an app that people will use. There are many considerations (see also design principles from image above) that must be followed during the design, code, and launch process some of which we’ve shared above, a few others, including these 10 common UX design mistakes need to be considered:

  1. Not Understanding UXUser Experience Design isn’t just colors and text, it is the factors that determine how a user will navigate within your app
  2. Burying Features – Don’t make the mistake of having an important feature buried deep in navigation and requiring multiple clicks for your user to access something
  3. Hand Holding the User – Your applications should not require large help documents or heavy handed microcopy.
  4. Presenting Boring Content – Presenting content poorly can confuse and bore users. A page of text is underwhelming, but adding in some additional styling or custom icons and images can make it more consumable
  5. Making Yourself The Target User – Designing for yourself or your client instead of the user is most likely a mistake.
  6. Not Doing Enough Testing Usability Testing is something that we all should do more of but never quite get around to doing. When was the last time you tested your product with users?
  7. Not Document the “Why” – As pushback can come from clients and team members when it comes to planned functionality, documenting the why will defend the decision.  Documentation can help maintain a well-informed dialogue.
  8. Over-Engineering Your App – By trying to appeal to everyone and adding features left, right and center, you actually dilute your message and could end up with a complex, bloated product.
  9. Not Considering Multiple Applications – The truth is that a bloated app is a bad app. Multiple focused applications within a suite will be more successful, especially when your users are the public.
  10. Ignoring Design TrendsDesign Trends come and go but trying to stay up to date with the latest and greatest in sexy user interfaces will help you to create a competitive product. Choosing the right design elements can make your application stand out and look modern. An outdated user interface will not be trusted by many public users.

Source: Aaron Woodard, TIMMONS GROUP

Finally, some sound advice. According to Larry Constantine and Lucy Lockwood in their usage-centered design, these principles are:

  • The structure principle: Design should organize the user interface purposefully, in meaningful and useful ways based on clear, consistent models that are apparent and recognizable to users, putting related things together and separating unrelated things, differentiating dissimilar things and making similar things resemble one another. The structure principle is concerned with overall user interface architecture.
  • The simplicity principle: The design should make simple, common tasks easy, communicating clearly and simply in the user’s own language, and providing good shortcuts that are meaningfully related to longer procedures.
  • The visibility principle: The design should make all needed options and materials for a given task visible without distracting the user with extraneous or redundant information. Good designs don’t overwhelm users with alternatives or confuse with unneeded information.
  • The feedback principle: The design should keep users informed of actions or interpretations, changes of state or condition, and errors or exceptions that are relevant and of interest to the user through clear, concise, and unambiguous language familiar to users.
  • The tolerance principle: The design should be flexible and tolerant, reducing the cost of mistakes and misuse by allowing undoing and redoing, while also preventing errors wherever possible by tolerating varied inputs and sequences and by interpreting all reasonable actions.
  • The reuse principle: The design should reuse internal and external components and behaviors, maintaining consistency with purpose rather than merely arbitrary consistency, thus reducing the need for users to rethink and remember.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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