Well, we’ve made a big point in the past of illustrating how UI and visuals aren’t what define UX, but that they are a huge part of UX. This is because the UI and the visual properties of a web site, a service interface, or an application is the avatar of the construct the user perceives. It visually represents functions that the user can summon, data that the user can easily perceive, and thus allows communication between abstract mathematical machinery and the tangible, visually minded human animal. This means that UX visual design is incredibly important.
Die hard computer people will complain that GUI is often inefficient or that it’s “soft” and that “real computer users” go command line for most of their needs. Well, that’s just pretentious poppycock. UI is incredibly important, and most of those people have just had bad UI experiences in the past.
With that in mind, let’s look at some important UX visual design tips. If your UI doesn’t work right, is awkward to use, and doesn’t have workable and pleasant aesthetics, then it makes using the software itself nigh impossible, to the levels of user experience desired by the designer and the user.
#1 – Singular Control Set
While it’s advisable to use the OS native control set as much as possible, and not a custom set, either way, this is very important. Mixing control sets with clashing themes or interaction patterns not only seems shoddy and unprofessional, but it reduces the solidity of the interface.
People get into a groove, as it were, using a set of controls and a base pattern of layout and interaction. If rules clash across a single form, then this groove is broken instantly, and it’s a bad user experience all around. So, be sure to use a single control kit, custom or native.
#2 – Consistent Form Layouts
Different forms will have different purposes, naturally, and will have differences in expected input or output. This means that your forms or fields cannot be identical to one another down to the last pixel.
Still, the arrangement of common recurring elements, general areas where interaction components of basic types exist, and so on is important. This goes along with that same learned use versus per frame deduction, allowing users to make the use of your design second nature, which is something you absolutely do want.
#3 – Contrast
Contrast is important, too. This has to do with borders, color combinations, fonts, spacing and so on. This is one is very art oriented, more or less, and so you’ll want to test this by reading the reactions of people to the initial exposure to it, as well as testing their ability to read and use the interface (directly impacting use performance).
This of course isn’t something I can advise on, but be mindful of it, and consult artists and other aesthetic experts where possible, to handle this.
UX visual design is important. If your UI doesn’t seamlessly serve as a layer between man and machine, then the user experience will be a negative one, and that makes nobody happy. So, follow this advice, for what it’s worth.