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The Importance of User Interface Design

User Interface Design, or UID, is the programming term that describes the way a website is designed to make it easy for its visitors to use.  The importance of User Interface Design is that you want to create a website that is easy to navigate, efficient to use, and gives your visitors a pleasurable experience.  It should also be as free from errors as possible.  This is how you can more easily guarantee that they will continue to not only visit your site on a regular basis, but recommend it to others as well.  There are many facets to User Interface Design.  They include:

  • design of input/output devices
  • design of workstation environment
  • the users and their characteristics
  • tasks to be supported
  • context of use
  • information layout and meaning

Chances are, you will have very little control over the first two items.  However, you can ensure that the final four are taken into account when you design or update your website.  So lets look at a couple of these  in more detail.

Users and Their Characteristics.

Their are several things to think about here.  For instance, what is the cognitive ability of your users?  This is usually determined through age, education, and level of experience, so you really want to think about that.  You also want to think about the culture or variety of cultures your users are coming from and how that might effect the way they utilize your website.  Also, you must take in to account any physical impairments that your users might have and design your site with them in mind.

Information Layout and Meaning

This is of extreme importance to your users.  They want a page/website that they can easily read, scan through, and find exactly what they are looking for as quickly as possible.  Most users spend mere seconds on web pages.  If you want to move them to a particular page or area of your website, it better stand out from everything else.  So making sure everything is clear and clean in design is extremely important.  Only include the most relevant information to a user on each of your pages and avoid cluttering up with information they will never utilize.  A bored and confused user is one that will not return anytime soon.

So, that is the basic concept of User Interface Design.  In the coming weeks I will get more detailed about how to make your site more readable, how to test and ensure that your site is usable, and how UID ties in with search engine optimization.  In the meantime, go to your website and look at it with “fresh eyes”  Imagine you were a first-time user to your site and see if it is one you would return to and recommend to others.  Finding the potential problems is always the first step to improvement.

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