11 Simple UI Design Tactics that make a big difference
Have you ever wondered why your designs don’t look like the top-quality designs created by the best freelancers in UI design? There are small details that set average UI designers apart from the best. The design market is filled with top-class designers brimming with experience and data. The only way to get on top of the food chain apart from being creative is by gathering existing knowledge. I’ll share with you over a decade of tips for making your UI Design a step ahead of your competitors.
Firstly, I’d like you to turn on your creative brain and try to figure out for yourself which UI design is best. Feel free to leave your impressions in the comments!
Are you ready to see which ones are good practices with more explanations? If so, scroll down. If you’re not sure, take your time. If you want to learn something (not just read and forget), take the time to analyze the content.
Now let’s move on to the Simple UI Design Tactics, shall we?
1. UI Design Tactics: Add more context to the message you present to the user.
The two modals in the image above are pretty similar. The only difference is the status icon. The symbol on the left is generic. The one on the right is much more contextual.
This positive green symbol with a checkmark suggests that the message is positive, even without reading the rest of the content.
Remember that communication is more than just text. Images, icons, or illustrations will help recognize the status of the action performed immediately. Always help users identify the intent.
2. UI Design Tactics: Use the color of the links for the active breadcrumb trail
This tactic depends on the context and objectives of the specific solution. However, to help users navigate categories, use the color you apply to links in the breadcrumb trail.
Through this, you will inform the user where they are and suggest where they can go from this point.
3. UI Design Tactics: Avoid default presets for shadows. Apply gently.
The default shadow preset in all design tools is ugly.
Learn how to create soft shadows by blurring the panel’s layer or using a few shadow layers to create a smooth effect.
Do your developers complain about soft shadows?
Show them how to do them in CSS.
4. UI Design Tactics: Use the same shade for neutrals through the solution
Neutral colors help establish balance in the user interface. However, it is easy to spoil this harmony by using various shades of gray.
Keep the same shade of neutral colors throughout the solution.
To make things easier, switch your design tool’s color picker to HSB.
This trick helps to establish the visual balance and makes it more attractive.
5. UI Design Tactics: Guide the user instead of displaying errors
When your solution has strict rules, such as creating a password, inform the user of the constraints and show compliance. This way, users will feel comfortable with your app.
Avoid displaying errors in these cases. It’s not the user’s fault that they didn’t know the rules!
Shadows and blurs
Using shadows and blurs is an essential practice of UI and UX design (one not going without the other). These two effects are very commonly used, more or less wisely. Here are 6 best UX practices to implement with your shadows and blurs to serve the user experience best.
6. UI Design Tactics: Accentuate your call to action with a drop shadow
Drop shadows, which could also be called “outer shadows,” are undoubtedly the most used by web designers in their user interfaces. The shadow is cast in the direction in which it has an offset from the object. Here, the shadow can be moved in all directions and have a more or less marked blurring effect.
If it should not be abused, which has long been the case, the drop shadow is a UX asset not to be neglected. Indeed, the outbidding of flat design is not the answer to everything. Thus, the drop shadow is perfect for bringing out your call-to-action buttons. The outer shadow enhances the user experience by focusing on the elements it can interact with.
7. UI Design Tactics: Use natural shadows for more impact
The one that offers the most significant impact on a design is none other than the natural-looking shadow. This natural effect is enabled by soft shadows obtained from a derivative of the primary color of the highlighted element. A natural shadow often varies in shades and tones.
So absolutely avoid shadows formed from a pure black hue. The latter creates a too large contrast ratio that is lacking in naturalness.
8. UI Design Tactics: Use the inner shadows sparingly
Although rarer, the inner shadows are not very different from the drop shadows technically. Indeed, their parameters are very similar, although here, the shadow appears inside the object and not outside it.
However, the lack of popularity of the inner shadow, especially in user interfaces, is no coincidence. Indeed, where the outer shadows bring depth to the elements they highlight, the inner shadows suggest a hole in the object. Therefore, the element seems inactive for the user who naturally interacts with the reliefs and not with the hollows.
This shading style is most often used for form entries (checkboxes, radio buttons, text entries, etc.) or in extruded forms of Neomorphism.
Note that the inner shadow makes it possible to give the elements a more realistic appearance than the external shadow. Despite this last advantage, it is better to use it moderately and cautiously.
9. UI Design Tactics: Master Neomorphism before using it
Neomorphism is emerging today as one of the possible evolutions in flat design. This is a stack of shadows using natural relief to bring out the elements.
This shading style has the great advantage of freshness, ideal for achieving a differentiating interface.
Be careful, however, because the lack of contrast between the elements and the background can be responsible for visibility problems. Be sure to prioritize your essential elements (typo, relief, contrast, etc.) to prevent visitors from damaging their eyes on your interfaces.
Also, be aware that the perceptible difference between the normal state of your elements and the “selected” state is very slight with Neomorphism. Even users with good eyesight may not perceive it.
10. UI Design Tactics: Use Gaussian blur to enhance the elements of your user interfaces
Gaussian blur is an enjoyable UX and UI asset for transition effects between screens. It is also used to blur the background to bring depth to the element highlighted.
Gaussian blur is also helpful for creating shadows that go out of the standards. It offers a more realistic rendering than a simple drop shadow placed under an object. However, it isn’t easy to use it repeatedly in a user interface. Its use, therefore, remains very punctual.
11. UI Design Tactics: Avoid motion blur and zoom blur in your user interfaces
Certainly, blur is very useful to bring a movement effect to an object without it moving. Depending on the angle of your blur, the thing gives the feeling of moving in one direction or another.
There is also zoom blur, characterized by an object that blurs from the inside out.
Suppose these two techniques are often used in photography for abstract kinetic quality. In that case, they are to be avoided absolutely in your web designs, having a very unpleasant effect on the screen.
When Simple UI Design Tactics take you a long way…
These actionable UI design tips will help you take your skills to the next level. You’ll design with more confidence and spend less time trying to figure out which detail is best. Since crypto dashboards and NFTs will lead the design markets in the future, you need to know these basic tricks to not fall behind in the market. These simple tips and tricks are crucial to internalize because the design market is already saturated, and mediocre designs along with their designers and teams will get weeded out. Hence, be the best version of yourself as a designer or design agency by mastering all these tips.