What are the types of UI UX guidelines and why are they important

4 September 2021

Would you find a disparity between Apple’s font on the website and the app? Most likely not. The reason is that every brand strives to maintain uniformity across all its platforms. A customer trusts a company that sticks to one narrative when it comes to the brand experience. This is where we see a need for a tool to aid such consistency in design systems. 

What are the types of UI UX guidelines and why are they important

The usability of a design system for actual customers is critical. It should entice the user to interact with the system, play with it, and transact with the platform. A bad user interface can be perplexing, resulting in irritation on the part of the user. 

A professional design system needs to have great architecture, hierarchy, or reasoning. There are a few guidelines that can help an interface become more user-friendly. But, before we get into the theories and technicalities, we must grasp the fundamental distinction between the design of the interface and the experience. And we shall also look at how they work together to create a wonderful product for the consumers!

The difference between User Interface and User Experience

The keywords may just express the fundamental distinction between them, but when we dig deeper, the real difference between them is that they are interconnected, and neither of them can interest and drive people on their own. A high-quality interface with a bad user experience can never please its users and will lead to dissatisfaction. Similarly, a high-quality interface with a poor interface may allow the user to use the platform but will not retain or drive them to return. A product that strikes a balance between the two sets itself up to be both user-friendly and successful.

What are UI guidelines?

When it comes to UI design, there are a few rules and standards to follow that will help you create a standardized uniform experience across all of your services.

By using real-life case studies, UI guidelines illustrate the best practices of UI components and how to comprehend their function.

These standards are often established at the organizational level and are beneficial to designers, programmers, and testers alike.

Formally, a guideline is a visual language that communicates the design goals to the organization teams; it is critical that everyone understands it and enforces its usage. A few well-known organizations that care deeply about consumer experience have posted their standards on their websites, which would be a great starting point to pick up on the basics if you are new to it.

To understand the importance of guidelines we must delve deeper into something called ‘design consistency’

What is design consistency?

Design consistency is what connects UI components with distinct and predictable behaviors, which is critical for a strong consumer experience and something UX Designers should think about. To make things easier for your consumers, think of it as a promise you give to them (like whenever you see the red cross button in the pop-up, you can expect it to quit and the pop-up to close) so that they can easily engage with your brand.

They grow to trust the product as they get more familiar with it and become frequent consumers. This is a result of the consistent design. 

It is important to note that consistency only comes from a great design guideline that is well-executed by the team.

So why are UI/UX guidelines important?

1.) Reduce the cost of training: 

Training employees cost companies a lot. It is much better to have a streamlined process that everyone in the team can refer to while designing any customer-facing aspect of your product.

This is exactly what a UI/UX guideline can help with. By having a guideline laid out for everyone, you do not need to train every new employee on what your UI/UX is expected to look like. Moreover, it helps document the brand’s front-facing journey, which can be great to refer to when you want to look at your brand’s design evolution and how your company came a long way with UI/UX improvements as well as design changes.

2.) Consistency is maintained:

One of the biggest things your brand needs to do is maintain design consistency (as mentioned before), and understandably, that is difficult to do unless you have a thorough guideline that can ensure that everyone is on the same page. The consistency being talked about here is not just a visual thing. Content voice, any kind of marketing copy, etc that face the user also count as important elements of the UI/UX. Hence, those must be consistent throughout all of the company’s platforms as well.

3.) Reduce the amount of time you spend going back and forth:

Imagine playing Monopoly without the rule booklet. That’s right. You wouldn’t want to risk an argument over the rules when there is an established rulebook.

Having a guideline in place means that whenever there is a dispute on the drawing board regarding anything, it can easily be solved using the guideline. This will not only save time but make sure that the team never takes any creative liberty that strays away from the brand’s overall identity. 

4.) Reduce rework and usability mistakes:

With a uniform guideline that is applied to every aspect of the brand’s UI/UX endeavors, you wouldn’t need to worry about reworking things all the time. Because you would have established directions for your team in the first place. This will result in lesser chances of error. 

A guideline is usually made after considering the optimum usability of the company’s platforms/products. Hence, it actively reduces usability issues if executed properly.

5.) Increase your output:

With all of the above parameters intact, you have been set up to increase your output. Be it conversions, or returning users, a guideline will eventually help you amp up the engagement.

Types of UI Guidelines

Guidelines can be classified into the following categories based on how they are used.

Style

The visual expression of an organization that it displays to the public is defined by style standards. Every brand has its own set of guidelines for creating logos, colors, symbols, and typography.

Layout

The general structure of the interface is defined by the layout guidelines. A grid layout or a list layout can be used to create a user interface.

This area of the standards also covers responsive design behavior.

UI Components 

Input variables, dialogs, windows, menus, panels, views, scroll animations, buttons, and other similar objects are examples of UI components.

Text

The tone and style of text to be used on the user interface are covered by textual guidelines. Different cultures and audiences from different backgrounds should be able to understand the text.

These requirements include textual specifications such as font size, color, and style. Text appears in the user interface as fields, labels, messages, and information.

Behavior And Interaction

The several types of interactions (clicks, gestures, and speech) that a user has with a design, as well as the system reaction.

Accessibility

Creating an accessible system necessitates a specific set of rules for various sorts of disadvantaged users for them to be able to interact with the design as if they were regular users.

Patterns 

UI standards contain reusable design patterns. These patterns describe how particular controls behave.

Navigation, browsing, surveys, data types, and states are just a few examples.

Platforms 

Platforms are continuously evolving, with software and apps being built for mobile, wearable, and autonomous vehicles in addition to traditional desktop systems.

A firm’s UI standards define all sorts of supported platforms and resolutions. 

Conclusion

The task of maintaining UI consistency is enormous, and it’s easy for certain details to fall through the cracks. Of course, the ultimate aim is a consistent and in-sync interface, but this isn’t always feasible right away.

You may use an MVP to test new goods (minimum viable product). Even if the product has some irregularities at first, your team will be able to iron them out one by one as feedback comes in.

It might be more challenging to maintain consistency while making modifications to an established product. This is where design systems and guidelines come in useful, but if you haven’t put one together yet, you should update the older sections of the system as soon as you can.

Irrespective of the type or quality of guidelines you choose to formulate for your team, its effectiveness would depend on how well it is followed or executed. So make sure that the team responsible for their execution is involved in the making of the guidelines. 

You cannot define success measures without considering UI/UX. It’s a proven fact that the study and design of a product’s UI/UX improve consumer happiness and experience. It eventually leads to an increase in the number of clients that use your goods. Users dislike having to go through additional steps or expend more energy to complete a task, and your product is no exception. If your user experience does not assist them in conserving energy while using your product, you will lose customers. This is why the importance of UI/UX guidelines in maintaining a reliable and user-friendly product cannot be overstated.

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