It takes more than just a functional website to have a successful eCommerce brand. You need a strong interface that makes it easy and intuitive for users to find what they’re looking for and complete their purchase. Your site’s interface impacts conversions, accessibility, site traffic, conversions, and overall user experience. In this article, we’ll take a deep look at user interface design, why it’s important, and 7 UI design principles to improve your eCommerce site’s interface.
What is UI Design
UI design, or user interface design, is specifically focused on the interactive elements of a product, system, or graphical interface. Effective user interface design anticipates what the user will need to do, and then ensures that the interface can facilitate those actions in an intuitive way. For example, UI includes buttons, text, images, sliders, text entry fields, screen layouts, navigation bars, etc. Anything a user interacts with must be designed, and that’s where UI design comes in.
Why is UI Design Important
For eCommerce brands, your site’s interface needs to be an intuitive experience that won’t get in the way of your users’ shopping journey. Your site’s interface facilitates interactions between your site and your users, which turns visitors into buyers. A strong interface maximizes responsiveness, efficiency, and accessibility of your site while increasing site traffic and conversions.
UX vs UI: What’s the Difference
User experience design (UX) and user interface design (UI) work together to create a positive overall user experience, but the two methods aren’t the same.
Here’s the fundamental difference between the two:
- UI is made up of the elements that come together to form the way something looks.
- UX is a process that creates how something works.
Good UX will focus on the interactive aspect of the product. UI will focus on the visual part of a website. For a more detailed comparison between UX and UI, check out this article.
7 User Interface (UI) Design Principles for eCommerce
User interface design is a big topic with many principles and best practices. These 7 UI principles were developed by Anatta’s team of designers who have worked on over $5B worth of online transactions and been trained by NNG and the Baymard Institute. These principles can help improve your overall user experience and increase your conversions.
1. Incorporate breadcrumbs throughout the shopping journey
“Breadcrumbs” is a term referring to a navigation system that gives users a better understanding of the relation between a page where they are (like a category page or product page) and higher-level pages. Breadcrumbs improve the overall user experience and help users navigate throughout a site. When users recognize where they are within a site, they can easily navigate between pages, which gives them a more seamless shopping experience.
2. Utilize search filters and sorting on PLPs
When users land on a product listing page, they need to be able to sort through the products to find what they’re looking for. Make it easy for them to sort by offering a variety of categories including “best sellers”, “price”, “user rating”, “newest”, and even “trending”. Users can make faster purchasing decisions when they are able to control their own product viewing behavior without having to search themselves or click through to every product page.
3. Optimize product description pages to include the most important details first
Giving users the right information on product description pages (PDPs) leads to more conversions and happier customers. Key details like shipping, delivery, returns, sizing, and color variations need to be clearly visible on every product page. Important details also need to be visible without scrolling up and down or back and forth. If users don’t have this information at the moment they’re deciding whether to add an item to their cart, they may abandon their purchase altogether.
4. Add clear CTAs
A call-to-action, or CTA, is a term used to describe anything that is meant to prompt an immediate response or action from the user. In eCommerce, CTAs typically include actions like “add to cart”, “buy now”, and “complete purchase”. These CTAs need to be distinctly visible with a clear description for the action that you want the user to take. Users need to understand how to take action, and feel confident about the actions that they take. A strong user interface includes clear CTAs throughout the shopping experience, which will make it easy for your users to navigate and make a purchase.
5. Simplify product taxonomy and site navigation
Product taxonomy is the logical organization structure of products in a store. The goal of product taxonomy is to make it intuitive for your users to easily navigate your products and find what they’re looking for. The interface for your site needs to accomplish this goal. For product taxonomy best practices, check out this article.
6. Optimize your homepage
Your homepage is extremely valuable real estate for your website. According to the Nielsen Norman Group, users often leave a website after 10–20 seconds. To gain your users’ attention, you must optimize the interface of your homepage. Many users rely on your homepage to interpret the type of site they’ve landed on and analyze the diversity of products available. Misinterpretations during this first glance can lead to site abandonment and loss of sales.
Here are a few ways to optimize your homepage interface:
- Utilize the hero space of your homepage to show multiple products and a mission statement about the brand with a clear call-to-action.
- Swap the carousel for a static homepage hero and utilize the rest of the homepage to show more content.
- Make sure that when a user lands on your homepage they can see the products/categories your brand has to offer.
7. Create Consistency
Use consistent colors, layouts, fonts, and language, and other common elements throughout your site to ensure consistency in your interface. This consistency allows your users to more easily understand and navigate through your site. Users will feel more confident and comfortable when they feel that they understand how your site functions. Once a user understands how to perform an action on your site, they will easily be able to transfer that knowledge to the rest of your site. A consistent interface enhances the user experience and allows users to more easily complete their shopping journey.
UI Design Principles: Conclusion
A strong user interface is a foundation for growth in your eCommerce brand. An effective interface moves users through the shopping experience intuitively and effortlessly. If users can’t easily navigate through the interface of your site, you’re likely missing out on valuable customers and conversions. By applying the UI design principles above, your site will be on its way to effective user interface design. However, user interface design is a large topic that requires extensive design and strategy. At Anatta, our certified NNG and Baymard designers can help your team create a strategic, seamless user interface for your brand. Contact Anatta to learn more.
Anatta is a premier eCommerce partner that provides turnkey digital product teams for iconic DTC brands including Rothy’s, Athletic Greens, Molekule, and Four Sigmatic. Anatta’s team of certified NNG and Baymard designers helps brands create engaging user experiences that attract customers and increase revenue.