There is no clear distinction between UX and UI designers. In many cases, they overlap each other and cannot be separated indeed. However, it is safe to say that UX design is much more technical and it handles many aspects beyond the border of cosmetic treatments on a website. Instead of thinking about how the buttons will look, a UX designer thinks about what comes out when the button is clicked. That said, creating aesthetically pleasant website is part of UX designer’s responsibility. Here are some tips to help you cover both functionality and beauty within the realm of UX.
Single Control Set
For the more advanced and experienced designer, using both custom and native control sets is likely possible without reducing the sense of consistency throughout the website. Mixing themes and interaction patterns can be very challenging tasks, so it is best to use a single control set only to minimize possibility of mistakes. It is always advisable to use native set, but you can use either native or custom as long as you don’t mix each other.
The main idea behind using design patterns is users’ tendency to group page elements based on shape, color, and structure. One of the easiest examples is a photo folder that has a cover to represent the contents. If the photos are filled with animals, the cover is used as representative. The same thing applies to UX design; when user sees many objects with similar elements, they’ll be able to recognize them easier. Such method allows users to organize page elements in an instant.
To make it even easier for users, you can use contrasting design. Font styles, colors, borders, and all other elements should allow for categorization. Think of it as red button for next page, while blue button for the previous one. Contrasting design gives inescapable hints on how to access different set of features and functionalities. To maintain healthy contrast on a screen or page, use subtle lines to show connections between components. When grouping between components are too obvious, the contrast can be distracting, which leads to uncomfortable experience. Subtle lines help to highlight connections in more understated yet obvious way.
Balancing functionality and aesthetics
UX designers make sure that all features and components exist on the page. Their job is to enhance website functionality to improve user’s experience. Regardless of how complex a website is or how diverse the features are, all the works are rendered useless if users cannot make sense of your design. If in doubt, always work with or consult User Interface designers to create balance between usability and beauty.