A designer’s job is creative. But creativity can make the designer create a page or website where the creativity is taken too far that it becomes unusable. Making the user feel in awe of our website is not the designer’s job; it is to help the user achieve what they want. A website can be beautiful, but first, it must be usable.
Sometimes, these inconsistencies in design come from over-creativity or oversight.
But first, why does a website/page need to have a consistent UI design:
- A visually consistent web design improves usability and attracts more traffic. It helps organize and present content in a structured way.
- A good UI design allows users to access important content easily and quickly. Visual consistency helps highlight important website data in a clear manner.
- A well-designed UI can evoke an emotional response from users and make a connection with them. Visual consistency helps create an emotional impact and keep users on the site longer.
💬 Types of Consistency
A visually consistent UI design helps the users to find what they are looking for and what is essential easily. The different types of consistency that you need to be aware of as a designer are:
- Visual consistency: Similar elements like fonts, buttons, and sizes must be uniform across the design. This would improve the learnability of the product.
- Functional consistency: Elements that are supposed to behave similarly must function that way. All button type elements must be clickable, and all pages must have uniform scrolling behaviour etc. This will make it predictable.
🧐 Consistency Principles
These are the principles of consistency to take care of in design:
- Consistency in copy: Keep the language of the copy and tone similar across the board. Use familiar language and phrases that the user can relate to and understand. The delay in actions caused by confusing language can repel a moderately interested user from the product. For example, don’t keep switching between British and American English.
- Follow the standards: For standard elements like scrollbar, and windows, it is better to follow the norms. Creativity, in these cases, can annoy the user. Also, stick to the standard website template with the logo on the left, Sign in on the top right corner etc.
- Visual consistency: Have solid visual grammar in terms of the colour palette and w.r.t the margins and the paddings for the buttons, cards etc. As mentioned earlier, the user can learn the system faster and navigate smoothly.
Tips for maintaining consistency in design
1. User Behaviour: Make use of heat maps to understand user behaviour. Heat maps show how users access information and interact with it. This data can help guide the designer to place the UI elements to maintain visual consistency.
2. Spacing: Make proper use of white spaces between the UI elements to maintain visual consistency.
3. Contrast: Have proper contrast to the elements you want the user to interact with. That means your CTA buttons should have a good contrast from your other elements. What stands out is what the user is drawn to.
Understand what your users want and get to know them. Try to see things from their perspective and feel what they feel. Become close to them. Let user understanding drive the change and, till then, maintain consistency.
Tool of the day
This is an excellent tool for measuring distances between elements on web pages. It lets you select the element and then check all the distances to any other element. You can choose the whole element or only the content box.
The best part is, it will not interfere with any webpage.