This post is part of the Bootstrapped Startup 50 series. The goal for the BS50 series is to cover everything that matters when bootstrapping a new startup. The posts are sequential, so it wouldn’t hurt to read from the beginning if you’re just joining in.
First impressions mean everything. It doesn’t matter whether you are meeting someone for the first time or visiting a website for the first time. What you get out of that first, immediate interaction is going to be a cornerstone of your perception going forward. Because first impressions are so important, user interface design is critical for successful Internet startups.
Why is UI So Important?
The goal of all user interface design is to make using your product as simple and obvious as possible. You don’t want users looking around your page or app trying to find a button that they’re expecting to see. The best UI designers anticipate how a user will think about a given page and build the design around that. All user interactions should be intuitive.
Apps that are easy to use are more likely to get used. No one wants to use something that’s needlessly complicated or looks like it’s been designed by a software engineer. If you want to earn long-term users, your app must be easy to use.
Avoiding Excessive UI Sugar
All of the beautiful web design, fancy interactions, and design cues are really just UI sugar. They don’t make the product work, but they make the product more enjoyable to work with. However, just like in your diet, too much sugar can be bad. Once your overall design gets to a point where everything works really well you should consider not adding more sugar.
Excessive sugar tends to make apps and individual interactions more cluttered than they need to be. Keep things tight and clean. Over time, if you see that some extra sugar can be a benefit then go for it.
I don’t think that UI is quite as important in the early stages of a startup. If you’re in the process of getting your product right then you shouldn’t spend as much time worrying about UI. Having a viable product is more important than any amount of UI sugar. Worry about the sugar once you’re ready to start marketing your product.
The next BS50 topics will be web design basics, including what pages every website should have, and recent design trends. Stay tuned! As always, comments are welcome.