10 Essential Screen Design Tips to Upgrade Your User Experience
Screen design encompasses the graphic layout and design of user interfaces for a wide variety of displays.
Screen design is considered a subcategory of user interface design. While the interface design provides the functionality, the screen design brings the function into an optimal form.
The fields of application are manifold and are not limited to the display of websites.
User-friendliness and user experience are in the foreground when developing screen designs. Here, the target group must be considered, the area of application-defined and attention paid to efficiency.
Depending on the purpose and intention, screen design or interface design comes to the fore in some projects. To think that screen design only has a decorative aspect is far from the truth. With the right design implementation, the functionality and usability of the application can be supported.
In this article we explain how you can achieve a good screen design, especially in the web area.
Table of contents
- Areas of Application for Screen Design
- Good Screen Design in the Blink of an Eye
- How Does a Good Screen Design Succeed?
- Frequently Used Elements in Screen Design
- Documentation of the Screen Design in the Style Guide
- How Will You Design Your Pages?
Areas of Application for Screen Design
Screen design is not only used for apps and websites. There are many different application areas in which people need to communicate with machines.
If a display is involved in this interaction, this display must be designed to be user-friendly and functional according to the tasks.
The design requirements can vary greatly. The design of a website is a completely different issue than the screen design for displays for medical devices for example or for robots in the automotive industry.
It must also always be considered to which people the screen design is directed. Are they people who use functional displays on a daily basis, or are user interfaces designed for users who have less interaction with digital media?
Employees on an automated production line in the automotive industry, for example, quickly adapt to new user interfaces. They give instructions to machines and robots on a daily basis using displays. Complicated structures are quickly perceived.
On the other hand, if you are developing the screen design of a learning app for older people in order to preserve mental activity, completely different criteria apply. Many probably only rarely use a tablet or smartphone. User interfaces here should be designed to be simple and easy to follow.
Good Screen Design in the Blink of an Eye
On average, users need only 50 milliseconds to decide whether the screen design of a website is successful or not.
In a study conducted at Carleton University under the direction of Professor Gitte Lindgaard, it was found that this short period of time is sufficient to make an initial judgment.
The test subjects were first shown 125 different websites for 500 milliseconds. In the last run, this time span was reduced to 50 milliseconds. The judgment regarding quality remained the same.
How Does a Good Screen Design Succeed?
Screen design must meet various requirements. How a monitor or display is designed depends, as so often, on the target group. Companies base the design of their Internet presence on their own customer group and their preferences.
It becomes more difficult when developing public displays such as a ticket machine, an ATM, or the user interface of the touchscreens in modern cars.
Here, the target groups are broader and the design must function in a self-explanatory way. Especially for vending machines in public areas, which can be used by everyone, a functional, easy-to-understand design is important.
Screen Design for Websites
For websites, you should make sure that the design also fits your company. Most of the time, website development is integrated into the marketing strategy to deliver a cohesive image to the outside world.
If you have a logo and if certain colors are defined in the corporate design, these must be taken into account and reflected in the screen design.
Also, consider the mobile activity of the target audience. Many users visit websites on tablets or smartphones. The screen design must also be able to adapt to these changed screen formats.
The use of mobile devices is steadily increasing. The majority of search queries are now made from smartphones.
Focus on the User
The users are always in the foreground of screen design. No matter what application you are developing a screen design for, always keep the needs of the target audience in mind.
The different design elements such as images, icons, texts, and buttons should be arranged in such a way that it is quickly clear how the website works, for example.
A precise analysis of your types of audiences will bring you important information. What skills, preferences, or goals your customers have will influence the layout and screen design.
The better you can put yourself in the user’s shoes, the better you can offer solutions. Balancing functionality with an engaging design is key.
Not Everything Has to Be New
Market research studies and psychological analyses provide many important clues as to what type of screen design is particularly well received by users.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel in this regard. Some companies and platforms offer well-stocked online libraries containing various standard screen templates.
Go ahead and use existing concepts and develop them further. This way you will save a lot of time and resources. Take inspiration from existing designs.
Simplicity is the Best Policy
Reducing to the essentials not only brings more clarity to your web presence, but it also increases the value. There are still customers who are critical of the Internet and online stores because they think it lacks credibility. According to the motto, anyone can quickly build a website.
Screen design can bring a clear design look that inspires confidence and conveys quality, for example in online stores.
Aesthetically pleasing designs are strongly associated with the quality of the product. At the same time, the products or services offered do not have to be expensive per see.
Large corporations such as IKEA or H&M show the way. A good screen design with high efficiency also or especially works for products that are made for every budget.
A clear layout makes it easier for users to find what they are looking for. Dividing the screen into different sections can be very helpful in this regard. Typography and color accents highlight important elements and guide the user’s eye.
Frequently Used Elements in Screen Design
Some design elements can be clearly defined, which you will find in every screen design. Some elements perform different functions and can be used flexibly.
The interaction of the different elements should result in an intuitive and effective website where users can quickly find their way around.
Especially for complex websites, orientation elements are essential for a good screen design. Generally, a website is perceived by many people as one big room.
Without orientation aids, the user easily feels lost, since the complexity of the entire website cannot be recognized. After all, only one website is presented at a time.
Integrate visual markers into your screen design, similar to a guidance system in real buildings. These show the visitor where he is.
For example, the current page can be highlighted in the menu bar. Name them correctly. The name should also appear accordingly in the URL.
In online stores for fashion, for example, the categories fashion, bags, jewelry, or accessories are often found here. The current page can be highlighted in bold, for example.
These elements help the visitor to find the desired page. Unlike in a real building, navigation elements allow the user to see all other pages without leaving the current position. The screen design should be clear and easy to use.
Menu bars, where the individual sub-items have an additional fold-out menu, are particularly popular. Here the user can see what is under the main category and gets an idea on which web pages certain content can be found.
At the same time, the navigation bar should be visually distinct from the other elements. Navigation and orientation elements often merge and bring even more efficiency.
Content elements should be easy for your customers to understand. This includes images, texts, animations and graphics. For small screens, the screen design must be adapted accordingly so that the content can also be quickly grasped here.
Layout elements have no meaning in terms of content. They rather serve the aesthetics and support the structure of the page. Graphic elements such as shadows, lines, and colored areas are used particularly often.
They can be used, for example, to summarize navigation elements or to emphasize certain sections on the web page.
At this point, it is better to avoid purely decorative elements that do not provide the user with any added value. In extreme cases, you can achieve the opposite.
After all, too many irrelevant elements tend to distract from the content and frustrate the user.
Don’t forget about the emotions of your target audience. People are emotional beings and almost all decisions are emotionally motivated. So it’s perfectly legitimate to add a bit of fun to web pages with color or a witty headline.
This can arouse curiosity and motivates people to click on it. So even serious companies are allowed to have elements that appeal to our emotions.
Navigation elements and links are also interactive elements. However, the interaction elements in our case describe forms, comment fields, or newsletter subscriptions.
The visitor can become active, leave feedback or ask questions. Important with these elements, they show the visitor that his comment or questionnaire was registered correctly.
In many cases, a new page is loaded confirming the corresponding action. In case of an error, you should also inform the user about it and indicate why the action was not successful.
Documentation of the Screen Design in the Style Guide
If companies and enterprises use different communication channels to contact customers, it is absolutely recommended to record the data of the screen design in a style guide.
In a style guide, all important information about the color concept, font, font size, page structure, or even text typesetting and spacing is noted.
This information is a guide for designers, developers, and programmers to ensure that all presentations are coherent with each other and harmonize with the corporate design of the company.
How Will You Design Your Pages?
Screen design has long been underestimated and dismissed as a purely decorative aspect. Yet good screen design is part of the success of a website or an application with a touchscreen and display.
No matter if the screen design is created for websites, ticket vending machines, or user interfaces for automated product lines. The user experience must always be at the forefront. You can always turn to an app development agency to help you with your strategy.
Depending on the area of impact, the requirements can vary greatly. In order to create an all-encompassing concept here that includes web presentations, apps, or even touchscreens on stationary devices, you sometimes need the advice of experts.
Marketing agencies have the know-how to skillfully combine web, screen, and interface design and to pack everything into a successful marketing campaign.