Steps To Create an Intuitive Design

Anastasiia Kanarska
27th May |
Steps To Create an Intuitive Design

In the modern highly competitive landscape, it is vital to put users’ needs and pain points in the spotlight. The way people interact with your product – whether they’re satisfied with it or not – directly impacts your success. It’s simple: the more users you can attract, the higher revenue you get. That is why a lot of work goes into creating UIs that feel just right. Today it is not enough to add pretty graphics and flashy animations to excite users. They expect a smooth and effortless experience where they do not have to spend hours figuring out where to swipe or click to find what they’re looking for. They want it to be clear, easy, and interactive. In case they don’t get it, they move on to another website or app – and there are plenty of options out there.

To help you avoid such a frustrating situation, we’ve collected the basics of a user-centered design along with useful tips on how to build one. So let’s dive deeper into this topic and uncover the secret of a functional and intuitive design. 

What is an intuitive design?

An intuitive design is more than just fancy appeal. It ensures easy and straightforward interactions where all users regardless of their profession or age can perform desired actions without much effort. It does not imply turning to any tutorials, explanations, or guidance. Instead, users are supposed to navigate, understand, and use digital products intuitively without any confusion. 

In other words, intuitive designs are created with instincts and past knowledge with little conscious reasoning. Building an intuitive design requires close attention to simplicity, clarity, and logical structure. A designer should think as a user to be able to predict their needs and offer the best solution.

Key attributes of intuitive design

How do you know that a design is truly intuitive? Of course, it takes you to regularly collect and analyze user feedback. But before we talk about this part, let’s focus on eight critical attributes of user-friendly design.

  1. Simplicity. Avoid unnecessary complexity, making functions and features straightforward and the layout clutter-free. Make user interactions fast and effortless.
  2. Clarity. Overwhelming an interface with complex elements will not make your product more innovative but bring about frustration and drop-offs. The design should be clear and unambiguous, ensuring that users understand what to do without confusion. 
  3. Consistency. The use of repeating design elements, colors, and a consistent typography style across sections and pages helps users learn and predict how things work across the interface.
  4. Familiarity. Utilize familiar symbols, terminology, and conventions to help users feel comfortable and reduce the learning curve.
  5. Feedback. Ensure immediate and clear feedback from the system in response to user actions so they can see the results of their interactions.
  6. Efficiency. The design should enable users to achieve their goals with as few steps and time as possible, often through streamlined workflows and shortcuts.
  7. Error-tolerance. Make it possible for users to easily correct mistakes without severe consequences and thus foster a sense of confidence and exploration.
  8. Visual guidance. Create design elements – icons, illustrations, and other visual cues – that suggest their use through their appearance, making it obvious what actions are possible.

Your efforts will bring benefits

According to Statista, 25% of mobile apps worldwide were only accessed once after download because of poor user experience. If they find out they have to spend extra time on learning, they will abandon such an app. 

An intuitive design that relies heavily on a customer-centric approach instead of a product-centric one provides straightforward navigation, a seamless user journey, and fast onboarding. In simple terms, such products operate exactly the way users think they should. 

By putting efforts and resources into creating a user-centered UI, you will gain numerous impactful benefits. Here are the most meaningful ones:

  • Improved user experience. Users find the product easier and more enjoyable to use, leading to higher satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Reduced learning curve. Today people are too busy. In such a dynamic environment, users want to quickly understand and start using the product without extensive training or documentation, making the onboarding process smoother.
  • Increased efficiency. Users can accomplish tasks faster and with fewer errors, increasing productivity and reducing frustration.
  • Higher satisfaction rates. Products that are user-friendly and enjoyable to interact with are much more attractive. A positive and satisfying experience makes users go back to the solution again and again thus driving loyalty.
  • Lower support costs. Fewer user errors and less confusion minimize support requests and reduce the burden on customer service teams.
  • Enhanced accessibility. Intuitive design often incorporates principles that make products more accessible to a wider range of users, including those with disabilities.
  • Competitive advantage. A well-designed, intuitive product stands out in the market, giving a competitive edge over products that are more difficult to use.
  • Positive brand perception. Users associate ease of use with quality, leading to a stronger brand reputation and positive word-of-mouth marketing.

Tips for creating a user-centered design

Before you even get started with your product design, remember the golden rule: users are at the heart of the design process. Intuitive design requires careful planning and close attention to user needs. 

The design cycle can be challenging, but it is achievable with the right approach and mindset. We’ve brought together some important factors that contribute to the difficulty along with tips on how to address them.

Understanding user needs

  • Difficulty: Accurately understanding and anticipating the diverse needs and behaviors of users.
  • Solution: Conduct thorough user research, including interviews, surveys, and usability testing. Develop detailed user personas to guide the design process.

Balancing simplicity and robust functionality

  • Difficulty: Simplifying the design without compromising essential functionality.
  • Solution: Prioritize core features and eliminate unnecessary elements. Use iterative design and feedback loops to refine and balance the design.

Maintaining consistency

  • Difficulty: Ensuring consistency across all parts of the design, especially in complex systems.
  • Solution: Establish and adhere to design guidelines and standards. Use design systems and component libraries to maintain uniformity.

Addressing accessibility issues

  • Difficulty: Making the design accessible to all users, including those with disabilities.
  • Solution: Follow accessibility standards and guidelines (e.g., WCAG). Conduct accessibility testing and include diverse user groups in the testing process.

Incorporating feedback

  • Difficulty: Effectively gathering and integrating user feedback into the design process for improvement.
  • Solution: Create prototypes and conduct regular usability testing sessions. Encourage feedback from a broad user base and iterate based on findings.

Strategies to overcome challenges

  • Place the user at the center of the design process. Engage users early and often to ensure the design meets their needs and expectations.
  • Apply an iterative approach that allows for continuous testing, feedback, and refinement. This helps identify and address usability issues early on.
  • Work collaboratively with cross-functional teams, including developers, marketers, and stakeholders. Diverse perspectives can lead to more holistic and intuitive design solutions.
  • Leverage prototyping tools to create interactive models of the design. This enables better visualization and testing of ideas before full implementation.
  • Adhere to key principles of intuitive design, such as clarity, consistency, feedback, and simplicity. Regularly revisit these principles throughout the design process.
  • Study successful intuitive designs and learn from them. Analyze what makes them effective and apply similar strategies to your own projects.

Final thoughts

In today’s competitive landscape, creating an intuitive design is essential to attract and retain users. This goes far beyond aesthetics and relies heavily on simplicity, clarity, and user needs. By prioritizing a user-centered approach, you can ensure that your product is not only functional but also enjoyable to use. This involves understanding your target audience, balancing complex functionality with a straightforward UI, maintaining consistency, addressing accessibility, and effectively incorporating feedback.

By following the tips and strategies outlined, you can overcome the challenges of creating a seamless and enjoyable user experience. Ultimately, investing resources in intuitive design will result in a product that meets users’ expectations and drives success in the market.