User interface (UI) design is the method of creating interfaces with a focus on looks or style in software or computerized devices. Designers strive to produce user-friendly, user-friendly designs. UI design typically relates to graphical user interfaces but also involves other interfaces such as voice-controlled interfaces. Design is a broad stream of subjects and isn’t limited to graphic design. When someone says “I’m a designer’, it is not immediately clear what they actually do day to day. There are numerous pillars of responsibility which together holds design upright. Design related roles exist in a range of domains, graphic design, textile design, interior design, fashion design, ceramic design, print design and more. With the relatively recent influx of tech companies focused on creating interfaces for screens, many new design roles have emerged.
Interface elements include but are not limited to:
Ø Input Controls: checkboxes, radio buttons, dropdown lists, list boxes, buttons, toggles, text fields, date field
Ø Navigational Components: breadcrumb, slider, search field, pagination, slider, tags, icons
Ø Informational Components: tooltips, icons, progress bar, notifications, message boxes, modal windows
Ø Containers: accordion
Principles of User Interface Design
Ø Clarity: Clarity is the first and most important job of any interface. To be effective using an interface you've designed, people must be able to recognize what it is, care about why they would use it, understand what the interface is helping them interact with, predict what will happen when they use it, and then successfully interact with it. While there is room for mystery and delayed gratification in interfaces, there is no room for confusion. Clarity inspires confidence and leads to further use. One hundred clear screens is preferable to a single cluttered one.
Ø Interfaces exist: Interfaces exist to enable interaction between humans and our world. They can help clarify, illuminate, enable, show relationships, bring us together, pull us apart, manage our expectations, and give us access to services. The act of designing interfaces is not Art. Interfaces are not monuments unto themselves. Interfaces do a job and their effectiveness can be measured. They are not just utilitarian, however. The best interfaces can inspire, evoke, mystify, and intensify our relationship with the world.
Ø Conserve attention: We live in a world of interruption. It's hard to read in peace anymore without something trying to distract us and direct our attention elsewhere. Attention is precious. remembers why the screen exists in the first place. If someone is reading let them finish reading before showing that advertisement (if you must). Honor attention and not only will your readers be happier, but your results will also be better. When use is the primary goal, attention becomes the prerequisite. Conserve it at all costs.
Ø Keep users control: Humans are most comfortable when they feel in control of themselves and their environment. Thoughtless software takes away that comfort by forcing people into unplanned interactions, confusing pathways, and surprising outcomes. Keep users in control by regularly surfacing system status, by describing causation (if you do this that will happen) and by giving insight into what to expect at every turn.
Ø Direct manipulation is best: The best interface is none at all, when we are able to directly manipulate the physical objects in our world. Since this is not always possible, and objects are increasingly informational, we create interfaces to help us interact with them. It is easy to add more layers than necessary to an interface, creating overly-wrought buttons, chrome, graphics, options, preferences, windows, attachments, and other craft so that we end up manipulating UI elements instead of what's important. Instead, strive for that original goal of direct manipulation…design an interface with as little a footprint as possible, recognizing as much as possible natural human gestures. Ideally, the interface is so slight that the user has a feeling of direct manipulation with the object of their focus.
Ø Strong visual hierarchies: A strong visual hierarchy is achieved when there is a clear viewing order to the visual elements on a screen. That is, when users view the same items in the same order every time. Weak visual hierarchies give little clue about where to rest one's gaze and end up feeling cluttered and confusing. In environments of great change, it is hard to maintain a strong visual hierarchy because visual weight is relative: when everything is bold, nothing is bold. Should a single visually heavy element be added to a screen, the designer may need to reset the visual weight of all elements to once again achieve a strong hierarchy. Most people don't notice visual hierarchy but it is one of the easiest ways to strengthen a design.
User experience (UX) design is the process of creating products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users. This involves the design of the entire process of acquiring and integrating the product, including aspects of branding, design, usability, and function.
UX Designers consider the Why, What and How of Product
A UX designer will consider the Why, What and How of product use. The Why involves the users’ motivations for adopting a product, whether they relate to a task they wish to perform with it, or to values and views associated with the ownership and use of the product. The addresses the things people can do with a product—its functionality. Finally, How relates to the design of functionality in an accessible and aesthetically pleasant way. UX designers start with the Why before determining the What and then, finally, the How in order to create products that users can form meaningful experiences with. In software designs, designers must ensure the product’s “substance” comes through an existing device and offers a seamless, fluid experience.
A UX designer will consider the Why, What and How of product use. The Why involves the users’ motivations for adopting a product, whether they relate to a task they wish to perform with it, or to values and views associated with the ownership and use of the product.
Since UX design encompasses the entire user journey, it’s a multidisciplinary field UX designers come from a variety of backgrounds such as visual design, programming and psychology, and interaction design. Designing for human users also demand heightened scope regarding accessibility and accommodating many potential users’ physical limitations, such as reading small text. A UX designer’s typical tasks vary, but often include user research, creating personas, designing wireframes and interactive prototypes as well as testing designs.