User Interface Design

User Interface’s advent into the digital world made the end users access the features of a software or an application. The intangible and hidden aspect of functionality was made available to the users through creative screens, easy navigation, and better accessibility. The conceptualizing act of building the means for end-user interaction gave rise to two broader categories of User Interface-

  • Command Line Interface (CLI)
  • Graphical User Interface (GUI)

Of these two, the best user experience is assured through the GUI. There are several ways to go about the design of the Graphical User Interface – let’s assimilate the know-how!

User Interface Design – Elements & Activities

The UI design has to be preceded by a good understanding of the user requirements. If known to the finest details, the design of the relevant user interface can be accomplished very efficiently. The entire graphical user interface works through the control elements using which an end user interacts with the systems. Here’s a view of the most commonly used elements in User Interface Design

  • Input Control Elements – Buttons, Text Fields & Areas, Radio Buttons, Dropdown lists and list boxes to name a few of this type of control elements. Their primary purpose is to capture user input or behavior to further act upon
  • Navigational Elements – Sliders, Pagination fields, icons, and breadcrumbs. These elements help the end user to navigate and invoke more functionalities on the screen
  • Informational Elements–Tooltips, Notification dialogs, message boxes and progress bar. Information is shared to the user using such elements in the application
  • Container elements – Accordion is one such element that has content in it and can be visibly displayed using user controls

Now that we know the elements that are an integral part of user interface design, it is imperative to also understand how the design needs to be accomplished. The below iterative activities are performed for the process of designing an efficient and usable user interface

  • Requirement Gathering – A process that needs to be done with all the stakeholders who will use the system. One can also gather requirements for User Interface Design from an existing system
  • User Analysis – The end user’s competency is assessed by the implementation team to conclude the level of complexity for the UI design
  • Task Analysis – This is purely a UI design and implementation team’s work; breaking down of granular details of the implementation is carried out
  • UI Design & Implementation – Mockups, wireframes and then the code is built during this phase of User Interface design process
  • UI Testing– A final phase done by the end users so as to see the User Interface design’s effectiveness in adhering to the users’ requirements

User Interface Design Best Practices

The key points to note in the designing of user interfaces are that they need to be

  • Simple and usable – lead not to customer struggles
  • Consistent with all User Interface elements – adhere to a standard format throughout
  • Communicating with the end user and keep them engaging while navigating through the screens
  • Providing error handling ability so that user is not perplexed while encountering issues
  • Fast responding – memory utilization on the running platforms needs to be less

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