The two of the most popular buzzwords, UI and UX have been in circulation for quite some time already and they continue to play an important role in designing a WordPress website. In general conversation they are often used interchangeably but although compatible, these are two completely different terms. The following sheds some light on the UI and UX difference.
UI is an abbreviation for User Interface. It refers to the tools people use in their interaction with machines. User interfaces come in many varieties – buttons, physical switches, selection switches fields etc. It basically denotes the way in which users interact with operating systems, applications and websites. A good user interface has to be clear, clean, aesthetically pleasing, familiar, efficient, intuitive, forgiving and consistent.
The term UX, on the other hand, stands for User Experience. It mainly focuses on how the user feels when using a product. It concerns all the aspects of the interaction between a user and a computer system. Apart from the physical interaction, it includes what people think about the user interface, the graphics they observe and their emotions and attitudes when operating the system. UX usually includes things like the look and feel of a button and the action necessary to reach a button, the user’s emotional responsive to having to click to button and how he felt afterwards, whether these actions worked the way he expected, etc.
There have been a lot of great design improvement in the UI and UX of WordPress-based websites during the years, not only for the end users but also for the site admins. The goal of these improvements was to build an effective and efficient UI, which at the same time ensuring great UX.
It is also interesting what the future holds for the role of UI and UX in a WordPress design. I believe that while some things will continue the way they are heading currently, other will improve and become more prominent.
Scrolling, for example, will be more widely-used and dominant in designing WordPress themes because of the high number of people using mobile devices. Users find it easier to scroll than click. Apart from improving the load time of a site (a key SEO element), scrolling is also more intuitive than clicking.
User interfaces will be flat. 3D buttons and shadows will become a thing of the past. Flat designs are simpler and more intuitive. They also work better for mobile devices.
Navigation will be faster and more efficient. Accessibility will become an increasingly important issue and there will be support for both standard gesture and mouse-free navigation. This means more focus on the needs of the end user. Navigation will use larger fonts with higher contract and specific colours to provide clues.
The minimalistic approach to design will take firmer roots. The screen will no longer be clutters by flashy things. Future layouts and designs will adopt minimalism.
Mobile devices will rule the market. The OS of Google also came from mobile devices.
There will be a wide use of dynamic backgrounds as background video is much faster in conveying a message. It also does it in greater detail than text. This is the reason why high-quality background visuals will be used often.
Tiles and cards have functional layout and an uncluttered look that quickly becomes standard for WordPress design. Ever since Pinterest made cards popular, they have transformed into a web design trend.
There will also be a greater need for typography customization in WordPress themes. Fonts will be chosen based on image, style preferences, mood, etc.
UX will have to be more personalized. On many retail sites, content is already personalized to the tastes and behaviour of customers. Analytics provides information on how visitors consume content. This kind of information is useful for websites to offer information the way the user intends to use it. One such example is Amazon and their Kindle deals. If an Amazon user checks Kindle daily deals often, the website should display related information prominently on the home page after the user signs in. If he is not interested in Kindle deals, on the other hand, a different information should be made more prominent.
The basic design rules will stay the same. Although design will be in most cases flat, links will still look like links and be clickable, and buttons will have the feel and look of buttons too. Things with similar functionality will be grouped together and the consistency of the design will have to be preserved throughout the entire website. Navigation must be straightforward and all design elements should be arranged in a well-organized and logical manner.
Designers and developer should also remove the chance of errors being made by a user. This asks for dropdown boxes and calendars instead of prompting the user to input numbers and dates in the correct format, for example.
If your WordPress-based website is to be successful, you must have a firm grip on UX. Always consider the user first. This will become even more important in future as websites are in competition for the users’ attention.
If you think that there is something we are missing about UI and UX and the way they reflect on designing a WordPress website, feel free to comment below.