A Quick Checklist for UI

Shanisha Baitule
Oct 26, 2020 · 4 min read

“If you are not using mobile apps to attract new customers, don't worry — your competitors already are!”

- Jamie Turner

With the app economy rising, it becomes more important than ever to bring in new users and maintain the existing ones. This is what makes UI the most essential thing about your app!

There was a time when design used to be an afterthought; now, it is where you start. Design-led thinking can prove to be a considerable business advantage. If one aims to capture the next billion internet users, they need to make the most captivating UI possible.

“UI is like a joke; if you have to explain it, it is not that good!”

- Martin LeBlanc

The first time we read this, it made so much sense! So here is a superb checklist you can use to check if your UI is good enough.

Make it obvious

Whenever we double-tap a photo on Instagram, we see the heart below the image turning to red. This is one example of how the system conveys to us what’s happening with it. This is one of the key heuristics of the 10 Usability Heuristics of Jakob Nielsen, known as visibility of system status. In simple terms, it means that the user should receive some kind of feedback while interacting with an app. Few essential things to keep in mind:

  • Make it obvious what’s the app’s primary function without making the user think about it.
  • Highlight at most one action on the screen that is most likely for the user.

Don’t confuse

We all have been taught from childhood which color is known as red and which one is yellow. But what if someone tells you to follow new convection that an apple is yellow and a banana is red? Confusing, isn’t it? That’s why standardization is necessary. Do not try to alter or redefine actions for standard elements, mainly buttons. Traditional buttons such as delete, search, send, edit, etc., shouldn’t be used for other functions.

Mistakes happen

Even if you manage to make the UI obvious, there is a high chance the user may make mistakes. Have a back button so that the user can always return back to the previous screen. You don’t want the user to perform the whole process again. Likewise, users should be warned of the consequences of deleting a document.

Save time

Instead of the need to type a choice, keep a picker such as a calendar or a clock to minimize user actions. Eliminate the need for scrolling by providing a search option above the list.

What’s this?

Make all UI elements clearly distinguishable from each other such that the user can identify what each feature is conveying. Clearly show which button is active and which one inactive. One can use Gestalt principles of similarity and proximity for distinguishing elements. Making objects similar using color, contrast, size, or shape can help to group UI elements. Following the proximity principle, items that are kept close together are usually perceived as being in similar groups and can help UI for organizing content.

We hope this article was obvious and didn’t confuse you much.

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Shanisha Baitule

Written by

UX UI Designer | IIT Kharagpur’22 | Portfolio: https://shanisha83.github.io/index.html

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