Building consistency for a better user experience

Illustration by Rafika Aulia Rahma

A good design can be defined as a useful tool to express and deliver the message given to the audience. When it comes to discussing which design can be useful enough for the user, we can assume that good design is valued by its appearance. Unfortunately, that isn’t the right answer for the current situation. In this emerging digitalization era, design cant solely rests on the visual aspect because it can’t solve the need and satisfy user expectations. You need to know how to impress your audience by building a design that they can interact with and socialize with.

What is design consistency?

Design consistency is a way to keep the design you provide remains relatable with your other design. Consistency helps you make the user feel familiar and assured of your design. Building a design consistency can also help you get your audience to have a better experience to interact with. The consistency here works as your tools to make your design to be more coherence and more in accordance.

For example, your wife always redesigns the living room layout every week. When it comes to your favorite tv show time, you are unable to find the tv remote at the usual place. It will fuss you up and make the usual thing complicated. By having design consistency, you can make the design learnable and predictable enough, so it is easier for the user to consume it.

Remember, you don’t want to make your audience struggling to understand what you want to deliver with your design.

The benefits of design consistency

A lot of times will be taken as you applied design consistency. Bringing consistency to design mean taking detailed attention throughout the conceptualization and progress of your design. It comes up with so much benefit to you, and it will gain a better user experience.

  • Avoid user confusion

The main reason why you should apply design consistency is to avoid user confusion. If you want to keep users stayed on your websites or brands, don’t make them confused by providing a design that frequently changes. The inconsistent design will lead users to wonder if they are actually in the right place or not. If the user feels unfamiliar with the design they interact with, they will soon leave your websites or brands. Even turning into your competitors who already have what they’re looking for. You don’t want this to happen, right?

  • The emergence of coherence and accordance on your design

By applying design consistency, will make your design look more coherence. It means there will be harmony and cohesiveness due to coordination at your design progress. As your design grows with coherence, it will aesthetically please users when they’re looking at it. The design you’ve already provided can also be in accordance with the user’s needs.

  • Ease user to utilize your product

Users will easily find out how to utilize and enjoy particular things after knowing that your design is familiar enough. Take an example of e-commerce design. When you provided a simple, user-friendly design for your e-commerce website, the user will automatically enjoy strolling around to find their desired products. You can lead them to spend more money by adding an interesting button on CTA (Call To Action) such as “add to cart” or “buy now”. Users are likely to spend their time longer if the design you provide allows them to access what they want.

  • Build user trust

Design consistency also leads the user to trust your brands or businesses. They will saw your professionalism by keeping the design coordinated and stayed in line. The emergence of user trust is important because that can turn them from the usual user into your potential loyal customer. Who knows about people’s minds if we don’t lead them with our intuitive design?

  • Consistency builds identity

The consistency you’ve already build from the beginning slowly makes you being recognized. Users can recognize it by knowing particular things from your design. They would feel familiar with something you deliver before if they were shown repetitively. Take a look at McDonald’s, a well-known fast-food restaurant that had thousands of stores worldwide. People can easily spot their restaurants just by looking at their yellow arch logo. It can happen because they never change their logo color since they were established, even after several re-branding. That’s why consistency matters. It will build subconscious thinking in users’ minds and be remembered because they have been given repetitively.

How to build design consistency then?

  1. Do research for the current user knowledge.

We can’t carelessly put our design when we don’t know how it works and affects our users. To bring consistency in our design thinking and process, we need to know our current user knowledge. User knowledge can be measured from their capability to understanding the topic that they’re searching on. Their knowledge of understanding the topic can be used to track user behavior.

Thus, we can apply to re-concept our design to meet their necessity by knowing their capability to understand and their behavior. This step seems difficult to do, but they will achieve a better user experience once we already applied our design based on the given user knowledge.

2. Know what field you’re on, know your target user.

Concepting a design may differ from one to another. You should know what kind of field you are on. It can be seen from the design purpose itself. Which kind of goals and target user your design for. You can’t put your design if the field and target user didn’t fit with its purposes. When you create a design for a pre-school learning website, for example. You can’t put a serious tone like bloody red with frightening graphics such as monsters or ghosts used for Halloween. The concept will be unfitted with the purpose and the target user. It should be a colorful design with cute characters to bring a feeling of happiness for the kids.

3. Create design guidelines

In the progress of conceiving a design, try to If you know that companies and industries are applied the SOP ( Standard Operating Procedure ) to their workers and employees. It means to make their work done with provisions that have been set so the result can be measured and predicted to be good enough with the standard. You can adapt this kind of procedure to your design thinking and progress. Set guidelines for your design; it will makes you easier to coordinate what you will do with your design.

A measured and predicted design makes you stay focused and gain design consistency throughout the progress.

3 essences of design consistency

There are three essential points on building design consistency: Visual consistency, Functional consistency, and behavioral consistency.

  • Visual Consistency

Visual consistency is how to maintain consistency within the appearance of your design. Several aspects matter, such as design style, tone, colors, typography, white space, and elements. You need to keep each of them stayed and in line with your grand design. By applying the guidelines that I’ve explained above, you can maintain your visual essentials to be more organized and measurable. Don’t forget to create the visual aspects of your design that can be applied to cross-medium. But, keep paying your attention to your design’s consistency even if applicable across different mediums and platforms.

  • Functional consistency

The most important aspect of the design is its functionality. Is it useful? Can it help users? Make sure that your design functionality can be utilized by the user properly. The functional design may pleased users to stay and spend their time much longer. If you add too much different functionality, the user can be distracted by many changes and unable to interact with your design as usual.

When it comes to user interest, keep it stayed inline. It is important to stay consistent, so your user will be familiar with your design functionality. They will know to interact better with your design and increase your usability and engagement. Remember that no one likes puzzling things, which may make them thinking out loud. So, hear your user feedback and improve your design functionality to fulfill their needs.

  • Behavioral consistency

A behavioral consistency can only be achieved after applying visual and functional consistency at first. When you’ve been through the long process of creating a consistent design, the result can be a user behavior pattern that slowly grows and becomes visible. Consistency generates familiarity. This term can be proven by the emergence of a user’s new habit of interacting with the design. Whether it was visually or functionally affect them.

Take example on Apple products, once you experienced the iOS on an iPhone, you will be familiar with the MacOs and any other related Apple’s products. The usability of one device can be similar to another one, even they have a different type. That was because Apple users can recognize how to interact with different products but still visually and functionally consistent.

How do you want your user to interact with your design? The importance of user experience is to make bonding between your design and the user.

I hope this little scratch of tint can help you to make a better user experience. To discover more about our project on designing User Interface and User Experience, kindly visit our website at glovory.com or email us instead.

Contributor : Abdul Hamid

A global brand and experience digital product design agency that builds digital products to move at the speed of culture.