October 08, 2012
While GUI design should focus heavily on the user experience and making it as pleasant as possible, the devil is in the details, not broad changes. Overall design is obviously important, but, as a recent Econsultancy report said, a website can be all the more successful at bringing users in and keeping them by implementing minor quirks that give the site personality.
By focusing on the minor details, web UI design can be brought to the next level, and while not necessarily affecting the functionality of a site, these types of changes will certainly affect users' perceptions of it.
Know the date
One example the news source gives of a highly effective UX design quirk is websites that know what day it is. An easy-to-code feature, this may not seem to add anything to a website, but it provides users with a certain level of interaction that may be a pleasant surprise. A common complaint in online customer service or the general internet experience is the lack of human interaction, and this tiny feature brings a little bit back to the user. This can be done simply by listing the time and date, or telling users to enjoy their weekend when visited on a Friday.
Another feature users are keen on is having a website remember them. Using cookies and other tools, a business can program its website to offer a "welcome back" message or to simply remember users' preferences in the graphical user interface design. This can not only save users time during frequent visits, but raise overall appreciation for the site by cutting down on navigation and improving overall functionality of the site.
Offer customization options
While providing completely customizable interfaces can be a pain for a business's website, simply offering a change in color scheme isn't difficult. One example of this is Last.fm's website, which traditionally offers a red-based UI, but allows users to convert this to monochrome if they prefer a black-and-white look. This may seem unnecessary, but it will appeal to certain types of users, such as colorblind people who might have trouble reading the site with its normal color scheme.
While not all sites can benefit from these specific web GUI design features, they provide a general template for the idea that integrating minor quirks into the site can bring out a lot more than major design features ever could.