6 User Interface (UI) Design Concepts to Master

As a web designer, you know that creating an effective user interface (UI) is essential to the success of your website. A well-designed UI makes it easy for users to find what they need and complete tasks, while a poorly designed UI can frustrate users and cause them to leave your site – say hello to a high bounce rate. But in order to create an effective UI, you need to understand the basics of UI design. So, keep reading.

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These six concepts will help you get started:

  1. Consistency
  2. The User Rules All
  3. Intuitiveness and Simplicity
  4. Contrast
  5. Proximity
  6. Alignment

1. Consistency

Consistency is key in UI design. Using consistent colors, fonts, and layouts throughout your website will help create a cohesive look that makes it easy for users to navigate. But this goes beyond consistency in how everything looks. True UI consistency is centered around both appearance and behavior. 

a woman web developer or UI designer working on a laptop that has five stickers of on it.

Your website’s UI should exhibit consistent behavior across all pages and interactions. This means that if a user clicks on a button, they should expect the same result no matter where they are on your site.

And while innovation can be lovely, there’s really no reason to reinvent the wheel when it comes to tried and true design aspects. A good UI design will meet a user’s expectations at every turn, especially with regard to the following:

  • How elements are labeled
  • The order in which information is presented
  • The way forms work
  • The appearance and behavior of buttons

A user expecting a site element to function one way only to find that it’s been coded to behave differently can be jarring and confusing. Consistency in your UI design will help to create a smooth user experience.

2. The User Rules All

No matter how gorgeous or feature-rich your website is, it’s not going to be successful unless it meets the needs of your end users. When designing your UI, always keep your target audience in mind.

Start by creating user personas. These are fictional characters that represent your ideal users. Once you have your personas created, think about their needs and how your website can meet those needs.

Your UI should be designed with your target users in mind at every step. From the colors you use to the way you arrange the information on each page, everything should be chosen with these personas in mind.

3. Intuitiveness & Simplicity

Intuitiveness and simplicity are two of the most important concepts in UI design. A good UI is easy to use and understand without the need for an explanation.

To create an intuitive UI, start by looking at your website from the perspective of a first-time user. Is it easy to find what they’re looking for? Are the navigation options self-explanatory? Don’t assume that users will know what to do. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for them to find their way around your site and complete tasks.

designer writing on a whiteboard to figure out the layout of a user interface design

In addition to being intuitive, your UI should also be simple. Keep the design clean and uncluttered. Use white space to your advantage and only include the elements that are absolutely necessary. Presenting too much information at once can overwhelm users and make your website difficult to use.

Similarly, reducing the number of steps required to complete a task on your site, like making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter, will make it more likely that users will actually follow through. Sticking to the “three-click rule” is your best bet here.

Of course, use this as a guideline rather than a hard and fast rule. Your industry, target audience, and the goal of your website may necessitate more clicks for a user to get to where they need to go. But do let it serve as a reminder to simplify menus, navigation, and overall site options whenever you can.

4. Contrast

When it comes to your website’s UI, contrast is important. You want to make sure that there’s enough of a difference between the foreground and background colors to create a clear visual hierarchy. This will help users see and understand the different elements on each page.

You also want to use contrast to create visual interest. Use light and dark colors, different textures, and patterns to add depth and dimension to your design.

But be careful not to go overboard. Too much contrast can be just as problematic as too little. The goal is to create a balanced design that uses contrast to highlight the most important elements on each page – not to compromise accessibility.

5. Proximity

Proximity is all about grouping related elements together. When information is presented in a way that groups similar concepts together, it’s easier for users to understand.

UI designer writing lines of code on a computer and looking at a video on a mobile phone screen

A common way to achieve this is through the use of whitespace. By adding space around certain elements, you can create visual groupings that make it easier for users to see the relationships between different pieces of information.

You can also use proximity to call attention to important elements on your pages. By placing a key element in close proximity to another element, you can create a visual connection that draws users’ eyes to that part of the page.

6. Alignment

Alignment is another important aspect of UI design. When elements on a page are properly aligned, it creates a sense of order and visual stability. This makes your pages easier to scan and helps users to better understand the relationships between different pieces of information.

There are a few different ways to achieve alignment in your designs. The most common is to align elements horizontally or vertically. But you can also create diagonal or radial alignments. Grid layouts are also a great way to achieve alignment and help you to visualize spacing and effective content flow.

The key is to experiment with different types of alignment to see what works best for your particular design. There’s no one right way to align elements on a page. The goal is to create a design that feels balanced and organized.

Let These UI Design Concepts Lead You to Success

Creating a successful website takes more than just a pretty design. You need to put thought into the user experience and make sure that your pages are easy to navigate and understand.

By keeping these six UI design concepts in mind, you can create a website that looks great and functions even better. Your users will thank you for it.