One of the most challenging tasks as a UI designer is to take an idea that a client has so vividly imagined and appropriate it into a beautiful, functional piece of technology and imagery.
Our objective is to create a design that delivers the best possible outcome for our clients.
The design has to: one, attract the right target market and two, impress the client, this will not always be a seamless process.
Here are some tips to make sure creating a memorable UI design is as quick, easy and painless as possible.
1. Read the recipe: Understand the brief…well duh
This might seem like a relatively obvious step to undertake but it can easily be underestimated.
It’s all about education both for the client and the designer.
There needs to be a clear understanding of who your target demographic is; Age, Socio-economic status, sex etc.
Along with key functionality and the problem the product is aiming to solve.
Too many times a great idea will revolve around product design as stunning as it may be, that does not attract the target market and eventually fails.
This will usually come down to misinterpreting the initial brief, discarding crucial information and not answering or asking enough questions about the problem.
“It’s very easy to be different, but very difficult to be better.” – Jony Ive, Chief Design Officer, Apple Inc.
2. Gather your ingredients: Research and inspiration
Understanding the brief is one thing, developing a creative unique solution is another.
This step should take the most time and effort.
It is by far the most crucial step in making sure the process runs smoothly.
So where to start?
As a UI designer you should be familiar with the design guidelines of the platform you are designing for, if not the guidelines are easily accessible online.
With this in mind have a look at your clients competitors what they are doing well, what they are doing wrong and make sure you are doing it better.
The world can be your inspiration, it’s easy to be inspired by someone else’s design but this won’t make your design unique.
Draw inspiration from all mediums that your target demographic are looking at everyday, posters, websites, magazines etc.
“If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” – Albert Einstien
3. Start cooking: Let’s make magic
After all your thorough research it’s time to put pen to paper or hand to mouse.
Using what you have learnt from the previous steps create a basic layout and start applying colour schemes and font styles.
A lot of the time there will be a need to create variations of the design in order to achieve best solution.
These variations should not stray far from the original layout and should be used to determine appropriate colour schemes and iconography.
Creating variations will help the client when supplying feedback; it’s hard for a client to understand your reasoning without anything to compare your creation to.
Keep in mind basic principles of design keep it simple, create hierarchy and navigate the user in an intuitive and natural way around the screen and product.
Deliver your solution to your client.
Following the previous steps will not guarantee success but should make this step a lot less painful.
Get ready for criticism (often constructive) remember its not you footing the bill for the product it’s your client, therefore naturally they will question your design.
It is up to you as an intelligent well-educated UI designer to present your designs with thorough knowledge of their intended purpose and target demographic.
There has been a lot of work that has been put into the outcome of your design so discuss this with your client and go through your thought process and reasoning for the design.
Be confident that your design is the best solution for the problem if you aren’t, then you have not gathered the right ingredients or read the recipe.
Where to go next
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