An old professor of mine once told me that the most successful designs are ones that you don’t notice. Take for example a book. A well crafted book requires meticulous typesetting to make the words optimally legible. When words are typeset unskillfully – with poor font choices, bad line breaks, etc – the reader concentrates on how difficult the book is to read rather than the content. Successful typesetting happens when the words are easily absorbed and the physical text disappears on the page.
The same principle applies when it comes to User Interface design. Of course, UI Design shouldn’t actually be invisible. The idea is to make the task at hand so intuitive that the design doesn’t distract the user unnecessarily. The goal is not to stand out with a fancy gimmick – rather make it as easy as possible for the user to accomplish their objective.
One of our latest designs that demonstrates this rule of UI design is Land Of Lincoln Health. Land of Lincoln Health is the first and only health insurance CO-OP in Illinois. As a non-profit organization, they are governed solely by the people they insure. Our goal with the signup process was to make it as intuitive as possible. The first thing the form does is let the user know how many steps there are in the process, where they are in the process, and what is coming up next. This ensures there are no surprises for the user. The form itself is very clean, clearly labeled, with distinct spacing between different groups of information. Like a well crafted book, the form is formatted in a way that is easy to absorb and complete without distracting the user.
To learn more about this concept check out the following books:
Don’t Make Me Think
- Short and easy read. A staple in a UI designer’s library.
- Good for beginners as well as a nice refresher for seasoned designers.
The Design of Everyday Things
- Although this book is about the design of physical objects, the same theories apply to UI design.