UI elements are the most integral part of product design. For a UI designer and a web designer or web and application developer, it is essential to have a detailed and deep understanding of UI elements and how users interact with them. This knowledge helps to design a better product.
In this comprehensive guide, user interface elements that every product designer and UI/UX designer should know are introduced.
Table of Contents
The most important elements in user interface design
User interface elements are the building blocks of web pages and applications through which users interact with the product. User interface elements will provide a good user experience and good performance. For this reason, these elements are also useful and important in user experience design.
The foundation of UX is based on designing patterns that users are familiar with. If the product designer ignores these patterns, the user may go down the wrong path in the app or website and get confused. To prevent this situation, UI designers use well-known elements. Keep in mind that it is not enough to just learn UI elements, but also to know the context of their use.
The importance of UI elements in UX design
Suppose we are going to show the user six options to choose from. Many UI elements accomplish this goal.
- List tool: allows the user to select several options at the same time.
- Dropdown Tool: Opens a dropdown and allows you to select an option.
- Checkbox Tool: It is an alternative way to select none, one, or several options at the same time.
- Radio tool: allows the user to select only one option.
Which one is more suitable? Are there other tools that provide more value to the user? Is it possible to custom-design the radio button tool? To answer these questions, the designer must have a deep understanding of the various elements of the user interface.
Classification of user interface elements
UI elements are divided into three main categories:
- Input elements: Different user inputs are managed with these elements. Sometimes this management includes the process of validating input information.
- Output elements: Output elements display the results of user inputs. These elements show reminders, warnings, operation success, and error messages to users.
- Auxiliary elements: the rest of the elements (notification, breadcrumb, icon, slider, progress bar, tooltip) are included in this category. Auxiliary elements can also be divided into three categories: navigation, information, and containers.
9 common user interface elements for entering information
A check box allows the user to select one or more options from among several options. It is better if the selection boxes are displayed vertically. It is also acceptable to use multiple columns, provided there is enough space and other factors.
2. Drop-down menus
Drop-down menus allow users to select an item from a long list. They are more compact than radio buttons and allow the UI designer to save space. There is also a label (guidance text) on the drawers.
3. Combo box
Combo boxes allow users to either enter a desired value directly or select a value from a list. A combo box is a combination of a drop-down list or list box and a one-line input field.
Buttons allow users to act by touching or clicking and are usually labeled with text, an icon, or both. Buttons are one of the most important components of the user interface. Therefore, it is very important to design a button that the user will want to click.
5. Toggle buttons
Toggles allow users to choose between two display modes or between two values or between two settings by moving the button. These buttons are useful for switching between on and off mode or switching between list and grid display.
6. Text and password fields
Text and password fields allow users to enter text and password respectively. Text fields allow single-line and multi-line input (textarea). Password fields generally accept a single line for the password.
7. Date picker
The date picker allows users to select a date or time.
8. Radio buttons
Radio buttons allow users to select only one of the predefined options. An everyday use of these buttons is to select the gender option in registration forms.
9. Confirmation dialog windows
These elements are designed to get the user’s consent to perform a specific operation. Confirmation dialogs give users a chance to confirm that they want to perform an important operation before performing it.
4 output elements
Alert displays a short and important message to attract the user’s attention. This element informs about statuses and outputs that require immediate attention.
2. Toast message
An event (such as user login) causes a small text box, your message, to appear on the page. The best condition for displaying this text box is at the bottom of the screen on mobile devices and the bottom left or right side of the screen on the desktop.
The difference between an alert and a toast is that the former does not close automatically, but the latter closes automatically after a certain period.
The badge displays a small counter or indicator, such as the number written on the shopping cart icon.
Charts are a common way to present complex sets of data. The type of graph used in the user interface depends on two things:
- The data we want to communicate and
- What we want to convey about them.
Auxiliary user interface elements
Navigation components (such as a navigation menu) simplify navigation on a website, application, desktop, mobile, or any other digital product. These elements are very important and practical in interaction design.
The navigation menu is a drop-down menu with several different options that the user can choose from. By choosing one of the options, the user is transferred to another part of the website/application. This navigation menu may be displayed at the top of the screen or on the side of the screen.
List of links
A link list contains a set of links (such as a sidebar). Links may be internal or external and help users quickly access pages on other websites or external resources.
Breadcrumbs show users where they are on the website.
The search bar usually consists of two user interface elements:
- An input field and
- a button
This element divides the contents between several pages so that they are displayed regularly and allows users to move between those pages.
These elements (such as tooltips and icons) provide information to the user.
The icon is one of the most important parts.
The progress bar indicates the progress of a process and is usually designed as a horizontal or vertical bar with a narrow indicator that is moving inside it and cannot be clicked.
A notification is a type of warning or notification message that informs the user about an operation.
This element is a small window that provides information to users. And it usually doesn’t prevent users from continuing. Message boxes are used to display alerts, suggestions, etc.
Modal Windows is a type of popup window that allows users to interact only with the content that is displayed at the top of the window. Temporarily blocks communication with other screen components until users close the modal window by closing the window or clicking the exit button.
Containers place similar or related elements in a common area and separate them from other elements.
Widgets are interactive elements that allow users to interact with the system. This element usually includes tools such as Chat Window, Dashboard Components, or Embeds of other services.
Containers keep different components together. These components include text, images, multimedia content, etc. Cards are one of the best examples of containers in modern UI design.
Sidebars, like containers, are used to store different user interface components. This element may include menu links, icons, forms, site search, etc. By using sidebars, similar elements are placed in the same area and separated from other elements.
One of the important features of sidebars is that users can open the sidebar to view its content and then close it to leave more space for the main content to be displayed.