The internet age has upended expectations of brands. Traditional forms of customer acquisition like print advertising are now merely a footnote. Organisations have to think about how to tailor their marketing campaigns to a new generation of customers with purchasing power. Some businesses have eagerly dived in, embraced new forms of media like Snapchat, TikTok and Clubhouse.
In the past, design was about making the most of a flat, frequently black and white print advert. Now, design is often imbued with interactive elements. Whether that means scanning a QR code at a bus stop using your mobile or navigating your way through a new app, there are new expectations for design.
Some of those time honoured principles of design remain the same. Sleek, glossy design that appeals to your target audience’s sensibilities is still a great way to generate interest in your product or service. What has changed is the way in which we utilise these design principles.
Today, user interface design is all about the cross-section between human and machine. It concentrates on trying to make that interaction between finger and screen intuitive, fun, simple and interesting.
What is UI?
UI (user interface design) is commonly confused with and used interchangeably with UX (user experience). It’s an understandable mistake. You’ll find industry roles titled UI designer and UX designer with overlapping functions. UI designers and UX designers often have to work in tandem to create the layout, navigation and functionality of a website or app.
While UX stands for user experience, UI stands for user interface design. The UX designer takes care of how the interface operates – while the UI designer takes care of how it looks.
The blurring of the lines between the two roles doesn’t help wider understanding of the differences between the two.
Why is UI Important?
Forging a Brand Identity and Solidifying Brand Recognition
The user interface needs to be a reflection of what the brand stands for. If you want to position your brand as a no-nonsense alternative to the overly complicated, needlessly flashy branding of your contemporaries, your UI can be a reflection of that.
It massively aids brand recognition when all of the myriad parts of your organisation fit together seamlessly – from the marketing campaigns, to social media presence to the ecommerce site. Having that kind of instant recognition – that titans of the tech world like Apple and Google have worked so hard to create – will do wonders for the long term prosperity of your business.
Because they’ll be able to identify your brand’s imprint on any of your myriad marketing strategies, they’ll immediately know where to go if they do decide to make a purchase. That kind of continuity is essential for ensuring brand recognition – and the accompanying hike in sales that accompanies that kind of recognition.
To ensure your brand and business are aligned, the user interface design of your app or site should be in keeping with all of the other design elements that your business is known for.
Gaining New Customers with Superior User Experience
Fundamentally, all changes to a business are done with hopes of eliciting future profits. Upgrading your user interface design is definitely a route that you can take to increase your profits.
Ultimately, customer decisions are made based on their experience of the product. Irrespective of if your organisation is being represented by an app, an interactive advert or a website, it should still be intuitive for new potential customers to use. They are all extensions of your brand.
If those who interact with it are happy with their experience, they’ll recommend it to others.
This is crucially important if you have an app because of the outsized role of app store reviews. Star ratings and a list of top reviews greet every new customer considering downloading your app.
This star rating and list of reviews is the culmination of their experiences with the app. If they didn’t enjoy it – they found that the app’s design was clunky and cumbersome and they struggled to find their way around it – they’ll leave a negative review.
Alternatively, if they find the experience engaging, exciting and easy to navigate, they’ll more than likely endorse the app – and, by extension, your business – and leave a glowing review.
Accumulate enough positive reviews and you’ll steadily climb the charts and a growing volume of customers will be more likely to download your app, interact and engage with it and ultimately buy your product or service. Even if you make your money through ad revenue, the bigger your user base/ number of visitors and the higher your levels of engagement and interaction, the more money you’ll be able to generate.
Often, these reviews can be shared to social media platforms with the press of a button; giving you added incentive to make sure your user interface design is flawless and guaranteed to elicit a positive response.
Customers can be turned off by seemingly small, inconsequential details. If the aesthetic of your site or app doesn’t appeal to their sensibilities, they might never use it again. The right UI designer will work with you to realise your vision for the site or app.
It’s difficult to please everyone when it comes to design but, assuming you have a detailed vision of the kind of customer you want to attract and convince to buy from you, a talented UI designer should be able to straddle the line between the two.
Again, UI designers typically work closely with UX designers to bring about the most intuitive, easy to navigate design. The aesthetic elements clarify the structural choices. When UI design is successful, it makes the customer journey so much easier to navigate. More customers will be able to negotiate their way through this process and buy your product or service – ultimately increasing sales.
Bolstering brand recognition, gaining new customers through the strength of your reputation and increasing sales are just three of many things well executed user interface design can do for your brand.