The "success" of a website design depends on two things: its technical functionality, and its ability to appeal to the user. Its ability to appeal to the user is referred to as the user's experience, which is defined not by the technical, but by the emotional and psychological response that the website elicits from the user.

The best UI web designs deliver positive user experiences by appealing to the user's interest and motivation (which encourages them to continue to move through a process;) there are certain emotional responses that, when experienced by the user, have repeatedly proved to do this. Mastery, autonomy, and purpose are three user experience responses that have consistently shown to stimulate the user's motivation and interest when interacting with a website design.

If eliciting this response from the user is key to the success of your website or web-based business, how do you ensure that the user experiences these emotional reactions?

Certain user interface design patterns work to trigger these three key feelings, of mastery, autonomy, and purpose, that keep the user engaged, deliver a positive experience, and ultimately make a website application popular and successful.

The user's ability to visually deduce how information is categorized and prioritized affects their user experience. User interface design patterns that establish a visual hierarchy of information reduce the appearance of complexity for the user. This makes the user feel at ease when approaching a large amount of information, so designs that establish visual hierarchies contribute positively to the user's sense of purpose.

The "tree" format is a UI design pattern that is frequently used to simplify the appearance of a website; it does this by structurally organizing content in an intuitive way, by placing the broadest material at the top, and the most detailed at the bottom.

Making the user feel confident, comfortable, and capable of mastering a website's interface is essential to good UX. To do this, use design patterns that the user has seen before, on the websites that they spend the most time on and are most comfortable using. There are several user interface design patterns that are commonly used to do just this.

The Apple website is the quintessential example of a website that delivers a great user experience; Apple's UI design patterns are frequently echoed in the structural design arrangement of lots of other websites. Here's an example:

MediaFlex uses the same linear, minimalistic design for the top navigation, which on both designs gives the user access to all areas of the site categorically. There is a clear positioning statement next to a large image that occupies the majority of the homepage space. On both sites, the eye travels from the top of the page down, and immediately the user knows where to click when the eye falls on the bright and attractive image on the middle of the page.

Maybe these sites are hoping to bite off of Apple's success, but as a user I certainly welcome this type of interface because it's intuitive and I like using it. These web user interface design patterns make the user feel autonomous; the user's experienced this interface a thousand times already on other sites and liked it. These UI design patterns certainly engender a sense of mastery when it comes to the UX.

Good user experience is not an art that is confined to a digital realm. There are UI design patterns all around us that work to make us feel a certain way based on our interaction with it. If more of the interfaces we encounter in real life looked and functioned according to our emotional needs like successful web interfaces do, daily life would offer a much better ux.