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What is UI/UX?

When designing custom software products and mobile applications, you’ll see “UI/UX” in how-to blogs, directions for digital best practices, and something to focus on during the development process. But do you know what UI/UX really means? What is UI/UX exactly? What makes for good UI/UX? And why is UI/UX so critical to the success of any software product, web application, or mobile app?

Keep reading for the answers to these UI/UX questions and more.

Use UI to Design, Develop, and Deliver the Best UX

UI/UX is not one thing but two things that are dependent on each other. UI stands for “user interface” and UX stands for “user experience.” The software product, web application, or mobile app user interface (UI), through aesthetics, determines the user’s experience (UX) with your product, and the UX informs UI adjustments. When the user interface (UI) is designed and developed thoughtfully, for ease of use by a user, you can deliver the best user experience (UX) possible.

Let’s look at this in more detail.

A person's hand holding a marker creating a mockup of a mobile app

What is User Interface (UI)?

The user interface, or UI, is all the components of your software or app that make it easy for a person to do what they need to do quickly, without frustration or confusion. How you create the UI, or functionality, will determine how happy the user is with his or her overall experience.

In other words, if someone downloads your app to make online payments, how you develop the app on the backend and design it visually on the front end will either make the user’s experience super easy, intuitive, and productive in as short of time as possible, or it will make the user have to work harder to solve the interface puzzle. When it’s easy, users rarely think about the experience because it is seamless, and if they do, they’ll reflect on it positively, which leads to repeat use and/or sales.

A lousy UI, on the other hand, leads to a negative result. Nobody wants to use a web application or mobile app or use business automation software that defeats the purpose of why they’re there. If it takes too long to go to the next screen, if there’s a malfunction when they enter their information, or if they can’t find the “pay now” button or “submit” button, they will simply leave. This reflects negatively on your company and its brand.

About 90% of users said they have stopped using an app due to poor performance. – Wilderness Agency

What Does “Good UI” Mean?

Good UI is when users feel “that was easy.” The goal with any technologically or digitally based product is to make life easier for the user – your prospects, customers, and employees. To do this, anticipate what users need now and in the future and ensure the coding, API, and backend interfaces are clear and functional, just like the front end. Everything must work together for a “good UI.”

A good user interface or “good UI” will remove frustration from the interaction with the application, instill confidence that the data consumed or input was correct, provide a good understanding of what the user just went through because it was not confusing, and leave the person with a sense of accomplishment and no uncertainty. When a good UI exists in business automation software, your teams will be able to do more with less and retention improves. Users will feel their problem was solved efficiently. 

The attributes of good UI …

For good UI, the following attributes should be present on the screen, web page, or window that a user encounters while interacting with your web application, mobile app, Windows app, Mac App, terminal, device, etc. …

For good UI, the following attributes should be present on the screen, web page, or window that a user encounters while interacting with your web application, mobile app, Windows app, Mac App, terminal, device, etc. …

  • Menu navigation is obvious
  • Fast load speed: pages, screens, fields, etc.
  • Intuitiveness: nobody needs to read a manual to understand it
  • Words and fonts are easy to read, even with colors or buttons behind the text
  • Colors make sense and have continuity throughout the experience (i.e., all buttons same color)
  • Buttons are the correct size and same color across a site with text that makes sense
  • Pages are not too busy; they’re straightforward and clear
  • Pages fit the devices people use (mobile!), including screens as small as those found on wearables
  • Icons visually represent what they’re meant to portray
  • Images explain the functionality of what the user is working on
  • Checkboxes allow for multiple choices to be selected
  • Radio or punch buttons only allow for one choice to be selected
  • Drop-down lists are not too long to scroll through and fit on the page
  • Auto-fill search functionality exists
  • Show search results as user types in letters/keywords
  • Next and previous page navigation is very clearly marked
  • Fields on the screen are not accessible or visible until the correct time in a process
  • Intuitive data collection that doesn’t make the user scratch their head

Mobile users are 5X more likely to abandon their tasks if not optimized for mobile.” – Toptal

A business woman and 2 business men working together on a tablet

What is User Experience (UX)?

If your software’s or app’s UI is on target, it is likely the user experience, or UX, will be great. UX is the experience each person has, including how they feel about it, from every interaction with your technology (and company). This includes web applications, mobile apps, software products, and/or business process automation initiatives. At the core of UX is ensuring that users find value in what you are providing to them.

When designing the user interface, if you put the users of your product first by making the experience so enjoyable and simple a child can do it, you’ll have a product with a superior UI/UX. This will differentiate your company as a leader and provide a return on investment (ROI). On the flip side, a bad UI will create a bad UX and negatively affect your company’s reputation and sales. UX comes down to the quality of the user’s interaction with and the perceptions of a system.

Every $1 invested in UX design results in an ROI of between $2 and $100”. – Truelist

What Does “Good UX” Mean?

Good UX is when a person feels “that was so effortless and/or fun, I can’t wait to do it again. I really love this company/brand.” When designing for user experience, make sure you’re offering value to the users of your software product, web application or mobile app. For example, if you are a distributor and create an inventory system for your customers, is it super straightforward? Using a tablet or smartphone, can your customers see exactly which of your products are available, and can they order through the app in a snap? If so, that’s providing a great UX.

A good UX gives users a sense of their needs being met or exceeded, the job they set out to do was done well, there was an understanding of the process with minimal frustration, and confidence that the outcome of their actions is what was intended.

The attributes of good UX …

Using your app or software, while interacting with the screen, web page, or window of your web application, mobile app, Windows app, Mac App, terminal, device, etc., users feel the…

  • Engagement is positive, friendly, and easy
  • Information is delivered in bite-sized chunks
  • Humanness in the interaction is appreciated
  • Engagement quickly solves their problem
  • Experience is one-to-one rather than generic
  • The tech-heavy part of the process is not obvious
  • Steps that move users from one screen to the next are logical (process flow)
  • Experience meets their level of knowledge with the topic at hand
  • Outcome of their interactions is successful, providing confidence
  • Level of security is high but not in the way of getting what they need easily
  • Entire process is so easy, it requires little thought

When your technology is providing a superior UX, people will tell others. According to an Uxcam study, 72% will tell six or more people about good experiences.

Unlike UI, which is all about how a software application works, UX spills over to include the entire customer or worker experience with your company or organization, on-screen and off. With technology at the heart of ALL business interactions, whether behind the scenes or customer-facing, a good “total” UX that leaves a favorable impression is imperative to growth.

Bad mobile app design and experience will make over 50% of app users less likely to engage with your company in the future.

Young woman fist pumping while looking at her smartphone

How to Bring Together Good UI/UX

Bringing together a good UI with a good UX is no easy task. It takes things like design time to think through the best UI components to use, color designs that are easily readable by all types of users, even those who may be color blind, good page or screen layout that organizes like-fields into grouped areas, a good flow of pages or screens that combine to complete a given task quickly and smoothly.

A successful UI/UX combination also takes being open to implementing user feedback to improve an interface, making sure the intent of the user is accomplished using good workflows, helping a user to understand a given topic no matter how complex, helping the user achieve their goals with the technology at hand, and leaving the user enthusiastic about sharing with others what they just experienced.

If creating and perfecting a user interface with a responsive design that appeals to all users seems is stopping you from starting or finishing a project, there is help. Swip Systems of St. Louis, Missouri, develops all types of business software solutions, web applications, and mobile apps with superior UI/UX for nationwide B2B and B2C brands.

2 mobile app developers working on mockup on a computer

The Bottom Line … Good UI + UX = Brand Engagement & Profitability

You want people to choose your products or services over your competitors. User-friendly mobile apps and software solutions with good UI/UX are the chosen method of brand engagement. They are instrumental to profitability. If the UI/UX is not in sync, offering a personalized experience that’s simple, highly engaging, and intuitive with easy navigation, customers will find another product or service to satisfy their needs. If the UI/UX is satisfying and remains so with every update, you’ll build a positive brand and a loyal following for years to come and boost your bottom line.

If your custom software, web application, or mobile app UI/UX needs improvement, call us. If you’re in the initial idea phase, we’re also here to help you from the concept through the launch and beyond. We want you to get to the finish line and have the web application or mobile app you need to be profitable, now and in the future. Feel free to contact our team if you have any questions.  877.377.SWIP

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Tom established Swip Systems in 1995 and has been providing business automation, software development, web application, and mobile app solutions ever since. As a business owner himself, he’s aware of the challenges and what’s necessary to stay competitive, which is why he is on a mission to help business owners grow and maintain profitability through technology. Tom is also the founder of Midwest Manufacturing Leaders (MML) and a keynote speaker.

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