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12 UX Design Principles to be a Better UX Designer11 min read

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Top 12 UX Design Principles For Beginners
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Want to be a better UX designer? Here are 12 UX design principles to get started with:

Entering a new field is challenging. As a UX design student, you may have been will be taught that put your users first and make it a beautiful experience for them. But how do you do it?


These UX design principles help you stay on track. Totalling to 125, all of these principles help a lot in improving a lot. But that’s too much to digest at once. So, let’s start with 12 main principles that will help you stay on track.


1) Visual hierarchy

If you get visual hierarchy right, half of your design in done.

It gives good visual looks and makes it easy to scan content.
All of these come under visual hierarchy characteristics -> Size, colour, contrast, alignment, repetition, proximity whitespace, texture, and style.

Designers use visual hierarchy to guide the user to a point (‘f’ and ‘z’ patterns). No visual hierarchy is like eating just one item for your whole meal (rice or curry or chapati).

Users don’t want to read the whole content. Instead, they want to read (be navigated) to what they want.
Not following visual hierarchy will only help your users not discover important links and info.

Convey your hierarchy visually

Visual Hierarchy - UX Design principles
Visual Hierarchy

2) Consistency

Have you ever been confused between push and pull for opening a door? That’s not because your English is bad, that’s because of inconsistency. A common solution to this would be to have all the doors opened by either push or pull and I guarantee you that no one will ever have problem with push and pull

This inconsistency in digital designs leads to frustration. Users will waste no time to choose your competitors over you.

Users spend most of the time on other websites and there are standards for the placement of certain elements. For example, the logo on most of the English site will be on the top left. Why? Consistency.

Be consistent with your designs

Consistency - UX Design Principles
Consistency

3) Confirmation

Confirmation is one of the most important UX design principles of UX design. It adds extra to everything like making a transaction, booking a hotel, send emails and the list never ends

They help prevent errors. Don’t get influenced by the fact that fewer clicks mean better UX. I mean, yes, that’s right but if you could help your users prevent errors and save them from a lot of frustration, then why not?

Needless to say, it is an extra interaction. So I recommend to use it only for actions that will have a significant effect.
Deleting something needs extra confirmation but opening a music file does not

The one extra click rule to save users from errors

Confirmation - UX Design Principles
Confirmation

4) User control

User control is giving them control Ove of the system. What do I mean by giving them control? Giving to them the ability to undo and redo things is a simple example for that. If they can go to that page, they should also be able to come back to the previous page.

Giving control doesn’t mean making them do their task on their own as per their wish. It means to help them do what they want.

User Control - UX Design Principles
User Control

5) Accessibility

What’s a design that users can use?

In digital product design, accessibility typically means designing products so they’re easy for users with disabilities to use. Since we design products for people, it’s crucial that our products can be used by as many people as possible
We put so many efforts into thinking about the customer journey, app flows and about every pixel. The buttons need be clickable, the text needs to be readable, links should look like link and there are endless ways to improve accessibility

Make your designs accessible

Accessibility - UX Design Principles
Accessibility

6) Understand Context

Understanding the user’s context is an important ux design principle to take into consideration.

For example, you have to consider if you are designing for someone on the road eg Uber app or someone in the office.

Furthermore, taking into factors such as the time frame each user is expected to spend on average, the most likely behaviour and emotional state and many more.

Getting insights into all these factors would further help you understand the user’s behaviour better. This would enable you to create a design that maximizes user experience.

7) Prioritize Usability

It is the responsibility of a UX Designer to create apps, software or digital product design that solves the user’s problems. And no matter how great your product is, if it isn’t safe and easy to use, it is all to nothing. And here is where usability comes in.

Let’s take a website design for example; no matter how great the colour scheme, icons, graphical illustration and layout used, if it appears clustered of unintuitive, it is bound to lose visitors.

Usability is an important UX design principle which increases Click Through Rate (CTR) and conversions.

Distinctive and prominent features such as Call To Actions (CTAs) and minimalist + usable designs have been shown to greatly improve conversion rates and meet set goals.

Usability and user testing
Usability and Usability testing
Source: Smashing Magazine

Another way to improve usability is through Usability Testing. This is where you release a beta version of your products and ask users to interact with your design and see their feedback. You note of the problems encounter and the volume of people that encounter this problem.

This would enable you to make necessary changes and improve overall usability for your design.

8) Simplicity

Simplicity is one of the fundamental UX design principles.

The first requirement for an exemplary user experience is to meet the exact needs of the customer, without fuss or bother. Next comes simplicity and elegance that produce products that are a joy to own, a joy to use.”

Nielsen Norman Group 

What exactly does simplicity mean?
It refers to how clean a design is, its complexity and the ratio of its essentiality.

For a design to be simple, it refers to only having the design elements that are absolutely essential.

For you to create a design that performs best, you have to remember that people have short attention spans. This means adding element or graphics that not needed or necessary can hinder your users from seeing/focusing on what they need to.

This means confusion, harder to use User Interface and less enjoyable user experience.

While it is true that some designs require a bit of complexity, simplicity comes in by sorting out the interface in the best possible way.

Below are two examples of how simplicity can further improve your design.

While the above examples might be a bit controversial, the deciding factor is 6th UX design principle discussed here: User Context

9) Typography

Typography is very important in your UX design. It is an important UX Design Principle that can affect the way users view or interpret your interface.

Your choice of typography can significantly impact by enhancing or suppressing the language used.

For example, choosing the right typographical choice can improve accessibility, add a touch of simplicity and make the design more user friendly and user focused.

10) Less is more

The less-is-more principle governs not only UX design but also all areas such as literature, architecture. In fact, this principle was originally proposed by an architect: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

This what gives rise to the principles of minimalism.

While minimalism is not quite the same as simplicity, it is closely related to minimalism. Minimalism is the opposite of a lavish design. It is the act of oversimplification and addition of only the fewest and rarest elements.

Simplicity vs Minimalism
Simplicity vs. Minimalism – Maarten P. Kappert

11) Personalize

Another important one of the UX design principles to take note of is designing with your user personality in mind.

Think about it; wouldn’t you rather prefer a design or interface that seems to incorporate you into its design process?

A design can please and attract more users if it fits the characteristic of your user persona. This would enable users to connect better with it. This is why user research is one of the key aspects off User Experience design.

Add personality and human touch to your design to make it more user-friendly and interactive.

Personalize

12) Feedback

Feedback matters!

This is one of the UX design principles to implement if you want to improve your design. Your design should be interactive, should be two way instead of one way.

Feedback - UX Design Principles

So, addition of feedback is something you should really implement.

There are two types of feedback you should implement into your design:

Feedback to Users:

Add feedback to ensure a form of response which gets passed to the users based on their interactions. When a user hovers over or clicks on a button, submits a form or take any other action in your interface, there should be a way to know that his action(s) is successful.

Your design should be able to respond in various ways. For example, change of shapes, colour changes, vibration, playing of sound, animation and so on.

See Zapier feedback interactivity.

Zapier

Feedback to Owners:

There should be a mechanism of feedback to owners or manager of a product.

For example, as an app owner wouldn’t you want to know if/when your app crashes? Or as a website owner, wouldn’t you want to know when your website goes offline? Adding these feedbacks would enable you to implement changes and updates. It also helps the developer in debugging.

You should also enable feedback forms for users to let you know what areas you can or ought to improve your design.

Noticed WhatsApp Call reviews?

whatsapp call rating feedback

Conclusion

These UX design principles would go a long way to make your design better in your UX design journey. As long as you can incorporate these principles, you are sure to create better experience for your users.

Editorial Team

Editorial Team

Fovero Digital Technologies' Editorial Staff is a team of Tech experts led by Odewale Ayomide. We are a world class Graphics, Web and Digital Marketing agency operating from Lagos, Nigeria.

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