Design Consistency: Best Practices for UI and UX Designers

Design Consistency

Great efficient design is good for business, right?  Yes, actually it is, but it isn’t always about good design. There are specific considerations that come into play that depends on the medium of that design especially when it comes to UI/UX design firms. There come differences between designing an app and designing a mobile website. When users download an app, they don’t want the replica of your website. They want to have a great look and feel that delivers unique experience while investing their time on your app.

Before diving into the pool of best practices for UI and UX agency or designers for better results; you must know what exactly is design consistency? More people access the internet from mobile smartphones or tablet devices rather than conventional desktop computers. It’s important for mobile designers to consider mobile UX best practices at every stage of the design process.

Design Consistency?

What exactly binds UI elements and actions that are both distinguishable and predictable together is design consistency. A simple way to simplify things is to get more hold of users to need so it becomes easy to interact with your product.

As users become more acquainted with your product, they will become more your regular users and will trust the product more and more and that shows the reflection of a consistent design. Here, I have listed some of the best practices that are highly useful for everyday design.

1. User-Focused Design Research

Nothing stands best when it comes to quality research for a consistent experience. User-focused design research should not be done in a hurry as this phase is of great importance. Time and the right budget always make a necessary consideration in product design as without either of these, a product will never float. It’s important not to lose sight of who actually uses the product. Don’t overlook research in the beginning stages of product planning and always keep your users top of mind.

User Goals

Think about what your user wishes for. What do they will accomplish by using your product? what will be the role of your app?

For instance, assume developing a travel app. This travel application allows users to select traveling time and date and finds deals on flights and hotels as per budget. But always be ready to give extra like connect it with your Facebook account and show its magic by planning the top five vacations based on the content that you have shared. Some of the user goals to be taken care of include:

  • Viewing options for the specified timeline
  • Comparison between different options
  • Destination selection based on user interests
  • Keep with a vacation budget

Familiarize with Common UI Patterns

Don’t try to turn the wheel around such as modifications to established UI patterns. Recurring patterns solve common design problems. designers don’t copy the entire layout of the application of the same domain. They need to filter, modify as per the needs and requirements.

A typical pattern in e-commerce is a product grid. With such patterns, it becomes easy to browse and select a product for a user. Patterns have been evolving and users become aware of standard locations for elements. Most users agree when they want to search for something, they look for the search bar in the upper right corner as it’s the most commonplace in the app.

2. Develop design patterns

Better UI becomes when the user performing tasks with a minimum number of steps. If a task completing in 4 steps can easily be completed in 2, then your UI needs to modified for the shorter task flow- saving time, energy.

Design Hierarchy

 Design patterns along with design hierarchy do wonder for UI consistency. Users are aware of it or not, they intuitively pay attention to the priority of elements they interact with.

Just like visuals for a normal human being, different elements play a different role in pivoting the noticing factor. Think about the right screen visuals in terms of what people will see first, then after and so on. This part enables designers to target user’s primary functions faster than others and can also represent secondary and tertiary functions with the right amount of attention.

Design Elements

There are numerous design elements that can go into applications UI and each act as the building blocks that form UI patterns. Try to keep an organized inventory and check that each element is used efficiently to maintain a consistent experience.

Branding Elements

Stay consistent with the overall brand and everything that works for it, like typography, logo, brand color, schemes and more should be reflected in the app just like the rest of the brand’s properties.

Typography

The element that has the most visual impact should always be used “on brand”.

The visual element is especially important, and not just for a hierarchy but overall for the UX design. Focus on changing the size, fonts, and arrangement of the text as it can improve legibility, navigation and more.

Components

Components can be referred to any number of elements that make up a pattern such as:

  • Buttons
  • Cards
  • Forms
  • Lists
  • Panels
  • Progress bars

Templates

If you are having problems while standardizing your site or app, try using templates. Most apps allow usage of templates as the layout and elements streamline UI features across the products. You can reuse the same UI templates over and over, even years down the line, it stills works. How exciting, right?

Pattern library and design system

It isn’t considered as a user-facing approach but is one of the keys to consistency. As of today, various teams have a pattern library or design system to keep everyone on the same page. They are the rulebooks that anyone on the team can take a reference for. It can also be considered as the subsection of a design system.

3. Consistent Actions in Application

An application is loved by everyone if it is simple to use. it saves time, avoids headaches and helps users accomplish their goals by eliminating confusion resulting in satisfied customers.

Consistent actions remove the need for user discovery and the flow of tasks goes smooth. If a user is aware of the process of using functionality across one section, then they’ll use it in all sections.

Users transfer the knowledge they have gained in past experiences as they explore new parts of the application. The user can use the application without even thinking as the expectations into new features minimizing the learning curve.

So, if you’re designing your interface, don’t ask yourself these questions during the entire process?

Do all parts of the app have the same behavior?

How are the interactions working?

How much time and discovery are needed for a user to understand it?

4. Product Content

Remember one thing that your app doesn’t only depend on the visual elements but also on the text that runs through your application.

Consistent terminology in each place in the app is another key. Using two keywords for the same function makes them seem like different functions as it causes a pausing moment in the flow as the user sorts out the discrepancy. A consistent copy avoids the confusion of this.

Content Structure

Content has a crucial role in UI elements; be it something simple as navigation listing or as complex as product documentation. It isn’t just the words but how you copy text and its presentation is done matters.

Brand Content Consistency

Writing guidelines such as title case and tone can also influence the user’s experience. The trouble escalates if most of the content uses a casual style that clashes with a more formal “brand language’

User Defaults

If you consider user goals on the front, then you can definitely set realistic defaults to reduce the burden on the user. Pay close attention to forms, they are considered as a great opportunity for defaults to reduce the amount of user effort.

5. Consistent Communication

Everything that your user interacts with communication and it is very crucial to take the right care of it. search results, form submit messages, error windows are a few of examples that user interacts within the app. For an app to be a real success, it must speak to the user and keep them informing about what’s going on. The way of communication should be consistent and should have any fragments and errors.

State Change and Helpful Information

A toggle that changes colors to indicate “on” or “off” or a sound effect to verify a completed action; anything that could appreciate the user’s feedback. Your users should never waste time thinking if a task has been done or not. Provide the necessary information and focus to increase user intent.

Don’t Let your User Frustrate

Mobile app interface design is crucial for the users and the app. The common cause of user frustration happens when it’ll have no clear vision of what to do next. Some of the tasks in your app are not so-explanatory but designers are often too close to notice.

Conclusion:

Consistency in UI is a huge undertaking and at some point, it is okay to slip through the cracks. The end goal is to design a perfectly consistent and in sync interface. For new products, you can try to deliver a minimum viable product. Even if the product starts out with some inconsistencies, then also your team can kick them out one by one over time. If you are working on the existing products and trying to implement updates, then it can be a little more challenging. This is the moment when design systems and style guides come in handy.

AUTHOR BIO:

Anshul Sharma- CEO of Fluper, a UI/UX design company has taken its company forth by his hard work and his vision towards the future. He is always ready to learn about new changes in the software development industry and wants to make people updated with it.

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