Platforms like Pinterest, Dribbble, and Behance have exploded with inspiring design content for ui-designers. And while a lot of it looks amazing, I feel like a lot of trendy designs are misleading both you, and the designers who made them.
This article is not meant to hate on beautiful work by talented people, but to expand your arsenal of design skills by shedding some light on a topic I do not hear a lot of real talk about.
Let me explain.
UI-Design vs Real-world use
A lot of my work revolves around designing user interfaces.
With over 10 years of design (and development) experience, I have seen a lot of trends come, and go.
I have created a lot of designs that were awesome, and a lot of designs that simply sucked.
A lot of designs that looked amazing in XD, Sketch or Figma. But just didn’t seem to work once built into a useable interface. Why is this?
There are a lot of potential reasons for this happening, for instance:
- The design isn’t flexible enough — failing on different screen sizes.
- The design is too clean, ignoring a lot of important usability details.
- The design ignores real-world-screen-formats.
All of the above are possible reasons for your design not transfering over to the real world well. But it’s the last one that annoys me the most. It’s one that you should look out for. Perhaps even one you are guilty of…
“UI-Design should work together with reality, not ignore it.”
Design for REAL devices.
Don’t fool yourself by designing your ui designs inside unrealistic screen-formats.’
Desktop & laptop screens, just like browsers, do NOT have rounded borders.
It’s important to be aware of the screen you are designing for. Designs made within a rounded screen-format often times fall flat when presented in a squared-of screen.
Presenting your work in a rounded screen, works great for a designs that focus lean heavily on roundedness. Yet in real life, your work won’t be seen on a rounded screen.
Luckily there’s an easy fix for this. Make your design in a square format.
Ignoring the device your design will be presented on is like deciding to cook worlds largest pancake, in a regular-sized pan… The idea is awesome, but the execution will suck…
So, as much as you might love the current rounded-trend that’s going on. Please don’t forget that browsers do not have rounded borders…
At least for now…
Instead, try coding out your own designs as quickly as possible. Try interacting with your work with an actual cursor, inside an actual browser.
I truly believe, a focus on actual use, will turn you into an even better designer than you were yesterday.
— Christiaan van Eijk
Before you leave…
I want to thank you for being here. You are one of my first readers! Since discovering I will be a father soon, I have decided to start sharing a single thought, idea, or experience with you, per day. For a hundred days. The article you are reading right now, is article #006. I hope you are as excited as I am. I am writing it for you. And believe me… Writing is not my strong suit. (But let’s try anyway!)