TOP 5 UX Design Principles for the Web App

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Are you struggling to create a user-friendly web app that keeps users engaged and helps your clients achieve their business objectives? The key to overcoming these is implementing UX design principles in the best way possible.

Hundreds of design principles are out there, and you don't have to go through all of them. In this article, we list the five most crucial design principles that will improve your web app. We also include how to apply this principle in practice, especially for web apps.

What is User Experience?

The understanding of what UX means varies depending on the person you ask. When users talk about UX, they may primarily focus on how they interact with a website or digital product. This may include aspects such as how easy it is to navigate the site, the speed at which pages load, the clarity of information provided, and their overall satisfaction after using the product.

UX Design Principles for the Web App

For designers, the meaning of UX is more advanced and comprehensive. Designers are responsible for creating digital products that provide a positive user experience. They use their design skills, tools, and expertise to achieve the following goals.

  • Understand user behavior and needs
  • Design an intuitive user interface 
  • Ensure that the product meets the goals of both the user and business

Why is User Experience important?

In a world where attention span is decreasing rapidly, designers must emphasize good user experience. For example, studies have shown that over half (53%) of website users will exit a page if it takes longer than three seconds to load. This is the underlying reason why user experience is essential.

In addition, focusing on user experience is essential for gaining insights into user needs, optimizing conversion rates, and building trust. Designers understand users' needs by conducting user research. The findings from this research will help in creating a relevant user experience.

When users have a positive experience with a web app, they are more likely to become a customer or brand advocate. Conversely, a poor user experience can lead to negative reviews, reduced usage, and a damaged reputation for a business.

UX design principles for web applications

The principles of UX design are universal, and no UX design for the web is so simple that it does not need to align with some of these principles. When you develop web application, there are the top 5 UX design principles that can significantly impact the success of web applications.

Focus on the user

UX design  for the web revolves around focusing on the user. It is the foundation of all other principles.

user generated content

To apply this principle, designers must forget their personal preferences and biases and instead put themselves in the shoes of their target users. This requires conducting user research to understand their needs, wants, and pain points deeply.

Once designers have a clear picture of their users, they can create user personas (fictional characters representing different target audience segments).

These personas can help guide the design process and give designers a tangible reference point for who they are designing for and their needs and preferences.

Another important aspect of this principle is that designers must constantly iterate features and functionalities based on users' feedback. This process of iteration and improvement is essential for ensuring that the web app remains relevant and valuable to the users over time.

Hierarchy

Designers use the principle of hierarchy to subtly indicate the importance of different elements within a web app. In a broader sense, hierarchy helps a designer to organize information, guide the viewer's eye, and create a clear visual order. 

Hierarchy

To make it easier for users to understand the information on a website and navigate through different sections or pages, designers must consider information architecture and visual hierarchy, respectively.

For example, site maps and flowcharts should be used to visually represent the information architecture before designing a website. This will show how different pages or sections are connected and organized.

On the other hand, designers can manipulate the following elements to create a visual hierarchy.

  • Color: Use color contrast between elements to make them stand out. For example, darker background colors with white text make it easier for users to focus and read texts quickly. Bright and bold colors can draw attention to important elements.
  • Size: The typical example is using larger fonts for headlines and smaller sizes for subheadings and body text consistently throughout your design. Remember, larger elements are more dominant and eye-catching than smaller ones.
  • Provide alternative content: Provide alternative content such as text equivalents for images and videos and captions for audio. You should also consider people with disabilities using assistive technology such as screen readers, alternative keyboards, and switch access. 
  • Contrast: Using high contrast between elements can help create a clear visual hierarchy.
  • Alignment: Aligning elements in a certain way(vertically or horizontally, for example) can emphasize their relationship to each other and show their relative importance.

Confirmation 

Confirmation is a good way of asking users to verify an action they are about to do. This principle can be used when implementing certain features that could lead to unwanted consequences if implemented incorrectly by users. 

confirmation

A typical example is asking users if they want to delete or remove something from their accounts before proceeding with the process.

When creating confirmation messages or dialog boxes, ensure they are clear and concise so that users do not have to read through irrelevant information to understand their intent.

Other common examples of incorporating the confirmation principles include confirmation for user inputs and external links.

  • Confirmations for user inputs: In forms and input fields, confirmation dialogs are used to confirm user inputs before they are submitted. For example, when users enter their password, they may be prompted to verify it to ensure that they have entered it correctly.
  • Confirmation for external links: Confirmation dialogs are often used for external links to confirm that the user wants to leave the current website. This reduces the risk of accidentally navigating away from the current website.

Consistency 

Consistency in UX design for web apps means that design elements should be predictable throughout the web app. This is because users look for familiar patterns to navigate content when interacting with any digital product. 

For instance, if a web app has a search bar on the top right corner of the homepage, users may expect to find the search bar in the exact location on other web pages as well.

Mind you, consistency in UX design goes beyond just the visual elements. It also includes consistency in functionality, such as button placement and the order of menu items. 

Ensuring consistency in functionality helps users avoid learning new ways of performing actions each time they initiate a new interaction.

One easy method for achieving consistency is maintaining UI guidelines and adhering to them during design. Good examples of UI guidelines include Apple's Human Interface Guidelines and Google's Material Design Guidelines.

These guidelines cover many topics, including typography, color palettes, iconography, layout, and navigation. They provide detailed instructions on how to use these design elements to create a visually cohesive and user-friendly experience.

Accessibility

Designers must understand that the users are diverse. In other words, users come from different backgrounds, have different needs, and may face various challenges when using a product or service. As such, designing for accessibility should be an integral part of the design process for web apps.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) defines accessibility as follows: "Web accessibility means that websites, tools, and technologies are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them." 

It further expanded the meaning by stating that web accessibility has broader benefits for those using devices with small screens, older people, those with temporary limitations, or those with limited internet connectivity.

In essence, web accessibility aims to make digital content inclusive and available to all, regardless of their abilities or limitations.

The following are common principles that can help you design accessible interfaces:

  • Provide alternative content: Provide alternative content such as text equivalents for images and videos and captions for audio. You should also consider people with disabilities using assistive technology such as screen readers, alternative keyboards, and switch access. 
  • Use clear language: Text should be easy to read and understand. For example, you can use headings and lists to break up blocks of text into easier-to-read chunks.
  • Create consistent navigation: Ensure all interactive elements (such as buttons) have consistent labels describing their function.

Summary 

We hope that this article provides insight into the world of user experience design and how you can use it to improve your web applications.

The most important takeaway is that every interaction with your users should be carefully considered. As such, designers should leverage these user experience principles into as many interactions as possible. 

About the author 

Peter Keszegh

Most people write this part in the third person but I won't. You're at the right place if you want to start or grow your online business. When I'm not busy scaling up my own or other people' businesses, you'll find me trying out new things and discovering new places. Connect with me on Facebook, just let me know how I can help.

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