design

2 min read

The Devil Is In The Details

Written by

GA

Garrett Cumber

Interface and Interaction Designer

Published on

6/10/2024

Within the realm of user interface, and experience design, the idea that "The devil is in the details" holds profound significance. While the overarching structure of a design is crucial, it’s the little intricacies that tend to determine the difference between a good design and an exceptional one. Let’s take a moment to identify where those devils tend to reside.

andrea-de-santis-qu7K6y3Wi1k-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Andrea De Santis via Unsplash

Interactions

Specifically the “micro” type. These are subtle animations, movements, transitions or otherwise responses to users actions that provide feedback, enhance usability, and add a layer of delight. This could be the gentle bounce of a component on a users mouse hover or a buttery smooth transition of slides — these little bits of eye-candy pull us in and make interactions feel more satisfying and can add a layer of intuition.

Consistency

I can not emphasize enough how important consistency is in your visual elements (typography, color, spacing etc.). Small discrepancies, such as mismatched fonts or uneven padding, will disrupt users and lead to a sense of disorientation. Attention to these details will go a long way in building a cohesive, trustworthy and consistent design.

Feedback Mechanisms

Immediate, clear, and obvious user interaction feedback is essential to communicating system responsiveness and reliability. Some examples are: loading spinners, confirmation messages, and notifications. Neglecting these will almost certainly force your users to feel uncertain and frustrated, and can undermine their overall experience.

Accessibility

Ensuring that interfaces are accessible to all users means that we must be meticulous with our attention to contrast, size, and navigation. Through thought and foresight, we can make a world of difference in ensuring that all users have an equitable experience.

Usability

Design testing tends to uncover critical details that could easily be overlooked. Observing how real users interact with a design can be an eye-opening experience in and of itself. Refine our designs through the use of testing is an excellent way to get smarter and really level up in terms of overall usability.

Content

The words we use in buttons, messages, and other text seem trivial, but it impacts the user experience to a significant degree. Be clear, and concise — but above all else, be contextually appropriate. Doing so will ensure users understand the implications of their decisions. Remember: Ambiguous copy leads to user confusion and errors!

Now what?

While overall structure and functionality are certainly important, I tend to be of the opinion that the smaller elements tend to elevate a design from good to great. By focusing on interactions, consistency, feedback mechanisms, accessibility, usability, and content you have the recipe to create interfaces and experiences that are highly functional, intuitive and memorable.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the devils you’ve found!

— Garrett

design

ethos

Latest

More from the blog