Felix Schittig

And It Clicked: Why the User Interface Is So Important

The User Interface (UI) is the first point of contact between a digital product and its users, making it of immense importance. As the interface between technology and human interaction, it determines whether users enjoy using the product or become frustrated and give up.

First Impressions Matter

The UI decides whether the right button is clicked and the desired function is triggered. Users are generally not concerned with the complex processes in the background. Therefore, interactive digital products should always be designed from the user's perspective – not from the perspective of internal processes.


Comfort and Intuition: Keys to Satisfaction

Users should find it as convenient as possible. Every action must be intuitive and easy to perform without much thought. Here are some best practices to achieve this:

  • Consistent and Logical Design: A clear and consistent structure of the user interface ensures that users can navigate the application effortlessly.
  • Meeting User Expectations and Habits: Users should get what they expect from a specific click. A good example is the intuitive placement of the shopping cart at the top right of the page.
  • Visually Appealing Interface: A well-thought-out layout and consistent design patterns enhance user-friendliness. An attractive design with small reward systems, gamification elements, and micro-animations can also emotionally engage users.

Technology: The Foundation for a Seamless Experience

The underlying technology plays a crucial role in the success of a product. Users rightly expect products to work smoothly, securely, and quickly. A well-known example is Amazon's realization in 2007 that page load time directly impacts revenue. A mere 100-millisecond increase in load time can result in a one percent decrease in revenue.

Iterative Process: Staying in Tune with Needs

Despite careful planning, it is often challenging to understand and meet all user needs from the start. The true needs often only crystallize over time. Therefore, like many other companies, we rely on an agile, iterative development process.

Amazon is a pioneer in this regard. Instead of conducting large-scale relaunches, small changes are continuously made to gradually improve the product. These continuous adjustments have proven to be extremely effective. Other companies have successfully adopted this approach.

For example, Google personalizes search results based on individual search history, and viewing behavior on Netflix and other streaming services is documented and guided.

Facebook leaves all content creation to its users, with each user creating the platform's value for others.

Examples of Successful Iterative Approaches

Companies like Patagonia, Etsy, IKEA, and Netflix use the iterative approach to continually improve their digital platforms. Patagonia constantly optimizes navigation and search functions, while Etsy improves search and filter functions and promotes eco-friendly practices. IKEA focuses on simple navigation and AR integration to provide a better shopping experience, and Netflix personalizes content through data analysis and continuously improves the user interface.

Conclusion - Persistence Pays Off

The world of digital products is constantly changing. The success of a product depends on many factors, especially the user interface and the underlying technology. An iterative development process that addresses user needs is essential for creating user-centric and long-term successful products.

These principles apply to all types of usage, whether mobile, desktop, or machine interfaces. With these principles in mind, digital products can be developed that are not only functional but also intuitive and appealing – to the delight of users and the success of the company.