Know Your User
One of the most important UX tips I can share is to know your user. You know your product inside and out, but many of your users are coming to your site or using your product for the first time.
There is often the perception that design effort should be minimized in order to reduce costs and shorten timescales, but in reality, the true costs of bad design emerge later in the product lifecycle. Bad design has the potential to cause irreparable damage to the brand image through customer frustration.
User research, is an important part of User Experience Design. Typically done at the start of a project, it encompasses different types of research methodology to gather both qualitative and quantitative data in relation to your product or service.
Qualitative data is descriptive data and looks more at how people think and feel. It helps to find your users’ opinions, problems, reasons and motivations. Quantitative data is generally numerical data that can be measured and analyzed. Most user research involves both methods.
A consistent web site or application is predictable and therefore learnable. Design patterns exist for a reason. The onboarding bar becomes much higher with new, unfamiliar patterns. A great user interface design is one that helps users accomplish any task in the fastest, most efficient way possible.
Users get used to the location of the navigation, sidebar and footer, so they should be kept in the same place. Consider an example that’s close to home. You wouldn’t spend hours looking for a fork or spoon in your kitchen, would you? Why not? Because they’re in the same place they were last week…and the week before that. It’s logical.
Designers love it, website owners want to fill it. When designers talk about whitespace, they actually mean negative space – the space between screen elements. And it’s not always “white.” Used well, whitespace can transform a design and provide many benefits. Some benefits are purely aesthetic while others have a tangible impact on the effectiveness of your site.
An example of great usage of whitespace that we are all familiar with is Google. Their homepage is filled with whitespace so we can focus on what is important: search.
These are just a few of my favorite UX/UI tips. For more, check out the articles in the right rail under "More UX/UI Tips."