Simple and helpful ways to improve your designs
There are a few simple things you can do to improve your professional skills, and you don’t need to spend money on expensive online courses or tutorials.
1. Learn to use the laws of human perception in your interfaces
Does your design comply with the rules of information perception? It is important to know them well enough, because without this knowledge, you cannot really explain the reasons for your visual choice. There are not many of these rules, but for convenience we will focus on the most important ones:
The law of proximity
If we have several elements, then located next to each other are perceived as a group (even if they look different).
This is why it is so important keep correct spacing and margins between elements and sections… Don’t be afraid of too many whitespace (more than few is better) – make sure whitespace is roughly 50% of your design. This will keep the interface clean and tidy and help maintain the correct hierarchy of elements.
“Users spend most of their time on other sites.” You’ve definitely heard this before, right? Generally, it’s all about making the interface elements look familiar to the user… In many cases, too creative interface design can be confusing.
We all don’t like what we don’t understand. If you are faced with a choice between a standard and an unusual visual solution, choose a standard, understandable and well-known one.
Also called the Restorff effect, it says that, when there are many elements, the element that is different attracts the most attention and is easier to remember… This is why when we design a call to action button, we want its color to stand out!
2. Try different styles and design trends
Your client may want to create an interface for their product in a certain style. This happens quite often. You may not like all the popular styles or design trends right now, but it would be nice try them at least once and check if they suit you, and just in case, learn how to achieve certain effects.
This will allow you to form a personal point of view!
3. Simplify your collection of fonts
Designers often tend to overcomplicate typography in their projects and use too many fonts in different combinations.
In truth, you don’t need a lot of fonts to create a stunning and useful interface.
A few fonts are enough for you: two or three sans-serifs, one serif, and one decorative (handwritten but simple enough to be easy to read – sometimes it can come in handy). You will no longer be drowning in hundreds of options. It will truly change your design process and save time!
If you’re looking for awesome, readable fonts that look good on the interface, try the free ones: Montserrat, Poppins, Lato, or the paid ones (but they’re worth the money – I use them daily as my main fonts) Sofia Pro, Gilroy, Brandon Grotesque, or Proxima Nova … They are also available through Adobe Fonts.
4. Learn about cognitive load and try to minimize it
Coco Chanel once said, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take off one accessory.”
I believe this principle applies to UI design.
When there is too much going on, it becomes difficult for the user to focus on the most important elements. Before you finish designing your design, try to remove any unnecessary items.
Maybe the button doesn’t need all these effects? Perhaps the background should have been made simpler? Perhaps you can minimize the number of font sizes and styles?
5. Always check availability
I recommend that you learn more about accessibility in interfaces and create your own accessibility checklist.
Every time you create an interface, go through this list to make sure your interface follows the rules. Here is some of them:
- Is the contrast between the elements correct? Try the Contrast Checker tool.
- Does each clickable element have a correct touch target? (minimum size is approximately 44 × 44 pixels).
- Is the text readable enough? (Minimum font size should be 12pt).
Making an interface accessible and easy to read is often overlooked – do your part and create simple, user-friendly products that everyone can easily use!