Every element that you use in your UI needs special attention. You carefully pick out the colors, graphics, photos and fonts. Each item is chosen for how it fits into the design. You create a design that carefully balances all of these elements. Have you considered how you use white space?
What is white space?
White space is the space between elements. It is intentionally left blank or empty. White space or negative space is the space between columns, graphics, text and other elements. You leave these areas untouched to help make your design easy to read and use.
Where can you use white space?
Photos, graphics or any visual element: By adding white space around your visual elements, you can make them stand out. Too little space around them and your design may look cluttered. Too much and it may look empty. You need to play with the space to see what works.
Navigation menus: Your visitors use the navigation menu to move through your design. Tinker with changing the spacing between menu items and text.
Headlines: They help guide people through your design. Increase the space around each headline. More space around your headlines makes them stand out and help people to understand how to use your design.
Content or copy: Not enough space between paragraphs or lists can make them difficult to read. Increasing the space around paragraphs or between characters can help to make it easier to scan and read.
Columns: Margins or spacing defines the borders of a column. Use margins and padding to give your columns more definition and breathing room.
As a design element, white space doesn’t have specific rules about when and where you should use it. You have to experiment with spacing to learn what works best. White space is a tool that you use to help make your designs more readable and easy to use. Isabella Morris on Usablity Geek talks about how to use white space to increase usability.
What is microcopy? It is the smallest piece of content on your website or app. Microcopy can be text-based or visual. Text-based includes buttons, calls to action, error messages and forms. Visual microcopy focuses on images and videos.
Microcopy needs to be easy to understand, short and draws the user in. It should guide the user and help them to understand how to use your website or app.
What can you do to improve your microcopy?
Talk to your users like a person
Does your copy sound conversational or like a marketer? If it sounds like a marketer, change the words. You want to write copy with the same words that your users use.
Use copy to guide your users
Write short and helpful sentences, not paragraphs. If you need more than 8 words to explain what the users need to do, rewrite it.
Design is a marketing tool. The best marketing tool you can have is a well-designed product.
How do you create a well-designed product? By focusing on solving the right problems and delivering value to your customers. A Lean UX Design process gives you the tools and system for developing a well-designed product.
In A Lean Design Process for Creating Awesome UX, Annie Wang described Lean UX as a repeatable process that is goal-driven and outcome-focused. Your team has a designer, developer and product manager. Most startups are going to have small teams. They focus on the following principles:
Rapid cycles: think, make, check
Generate many options and decide quickly which ones to develop
Focus on solving the right problems
Recognize hypothesis and validate with user feedback
Research with users as the best source of information and inspiration
What does a Lean UX Design process look like?
A typical UX Design Process may incorporate the following:
In Lean UX, Lean doesn’t equal Skinny. Less is more. You want to build a product that is simple and clear with less features and more details. You want to go through cycles of Think, Make and Check. The key is user feedback and to reduce cycle time, not your build time. Not every product needs to follow the same UX Design Process.
As we develop our own UX Design process, we want to focus on thinking, making and checking. User feedback is key to making products that are simple, clear and easy to use.
The success of your website or app depends on creating the best user experience possible. Not all developers have a designer available to help with the design.
You can use the following 7 UX tips to create a better experience for your users:
When you create a new website or app, you need to decide what features to add, leave out and improve. Prioritizing makes it easier to create a website or app with the right amount of features and helps you to focus on getting it built.
Speed things up
Make sure your website or app is fast and responsive. A page or app that takes to long to load will loose users. Make it as fast as possible to ensure an enjoyable user experience.
Design before you code
Sketch your designs with pen and paper or other prototyping tools. Show your designs to users or even team members. Get their feedback before you write any code. It is easier to change a design before you start writing code. Here’s how you do a UX Design Process:
Use Google Analytics or other analytic software to help you learn more about your users and how they use your app or website. The more you know, the better decisions you can make when improving your app or website.
Make your UI simple and easy to use
Easy said than done. How do you make the UI better? Keep it clean and consistent. Use readable fonts. Choose larger font sizes and avoid fancy fonts like script or handwriting fonts. Make your navigation simple. Use standard icons and words that people recognize.
Remove or prevent extraneous features
Be ruthless when considering new features. Ask does this feature solve a need? Will majority of our users want it? If you have older features that no one uses, reconsider whether or not you should keep them.
Show informative error messages
Write error messages that tell the user what happened and what to do next. Good error messages can help make your website or app easier to use. Bad error messages only frustrate and irritate users.
When people can’t figure out how to use a website or app, they leave or delete the app. If you want to prevent people from abandoning your app or website, use these tips to make it better.