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UX Consultant Knowledge Base

What are Best Practices in User Experience Design?

Rebecca Scott

Rebecca Scott, UX Consultant, UX Connections
@uxconnections

In this article we talk through core UX best practices to follow when working as a UX Designer

At UX Connections, we pride ourselves on designing best-in-class digital experiences. We have a varied and unique skill set on our team, but we also leverage textbook UX best practices when working on projects. It is important to balance creative flair with pragmatic design principles when working as a UX Designer. 

Best practices keep our work grounded in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research and enable us to make informed decisions when there are multiple viable design routes. 

We thought it would be helpful to share some of the best practices that we follow.

UX Consultant Working

1. Keep it Simple

We believe our best UX work begins with a complex problem and ends with a simple solution. The simplest, easiest to understand design, is often the best one. A core goal of UX is to assist users in reaching their goals as seamlessly and simply as possible (Interaction Design Foundation). 

Achieving simplicity usually involves prioritizing requirements along with filtering out content and functionality that don’t serve a user need.

When designing a user interface it’s important to take time-out to reflect and review whether all the elements included are necessary and complementary to the experience.

2. Create a Visual Hierarchy

It is important that key information stands out visually. All elements should be ordered and placed in relation to their importance. This helps us to guide users around a particular experience and lead them along the desired customer journey. 

An obvious example of this would be making the most important information on the page the main heading. But it can also be more nuanced practice such as using a thicker line weight around an important CTA button.

Visual Hierarchy Visual

It can be advisable to create a page-level information architecture which reflects content hierarchies. This provides the foundation for design decisions such as: use of scale, font type, spacing and placement.

3. Make the Experience Engaging

Where appropriate, a user experience should be fun and engaging. The goal is to create compelling experiences that delight users. If possible we seek to incorporate animations, gamification and rewards. It is important that both the content and functionality spark user engagement. 

This can be dialled up or down depending on the context for example: incorporating nice page transitions and light animations on a mortgage website or an incentive based rewards system for a gamified gardening profile.

Users who enjoy an experience are far more likely to return.

4. Ensure Consistency

A user experience should always be consistent. It is important that the user feels like they are in the same ‘world’ when they are navigating around an experience. 

Consistency is key for improving intuitivity and reducing the users cognitive load when using an experience. It ensures that users don’t have to learn new ways of doing things or new tool-sets when completing similar or seemingly familiar tasks (K.Wong). 

Aspects such as: information density, fonts, use of white space, shapes and style should be the same across a site. This is often achieved through the creation of a design system, where clear standards are set and components are re-used.

5. Leverage White Space

When designing user interfaces, it is important that all page elements can breathe and can be considered by the user as discrete elements. This is important for clear communication and allows the designer to organise the content as effectively as possible on a page. 

White space also facilitates the design principle of balance i.e. satisfying the proportion of different design elements (k.Gordon). A balanced design gives each page element weight on the page whilst also reflecting a visual hierarchy. 

White space also tends to be advisable from an aesthetic perspective too.  It is often the case that high-end/luxury designs incorporate a great deal of white space.

References:

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