What is UI Design?
Fascinating mobile screens, easy-to-use navigation and delighting technologies never cease to excite us when it comes to using a new android application or awe-inspiring software. Businesses are rapidly going online to reach out to larger global audiences and equipping their customers with apps that help them connect instantly with just a click of a button. Companies must engage with their customers in innovative ways and provide a convenient interface to communicate, gather information and transact without any hassles. If you are a software entrepreneur, the owner of a small start-up or a website designing professional, it’s important for you to understand the basics of user-interface design and the means to use it effectively engage your target audience. This course can help you learn how to design your interface to get your users to take action.
What is User-Interface (UI) Design?
User-Interface or UI is the interface between the end-user of an application and the software behind it. In a smartphone, the user screen of a mobile application such as Google Maps or Facebook, through which the user provides input to the application and gets a response, is the user interface. Website designers, mobile apps creators and e-commerce businesses take immense care to understand the requirements of their users – such as how they would navigate, what is the menu required — before designing the user interface of their applications. The entire process of gathering user requirements, putting together the different software elements and creating an effective user-interface is called user interface design or UI design. If you are building a website or mobile application for your business, then take this course to better understand the fundamentals of User Interface design and implementation.
Components of UI Design
- Layout : The layout specifies what elements you’ll have on the page, and where and how they’ll be placed. This is the decisive factor. The Layout should be simple, making it easy for users to find what they’re looking for, and more importantly to draw them in to your call to action.
- Color: The colors you use have a major impact on the UI design. They must reflect the brand of your company, and also resonate with the users persona. Using dull grey colors for a a CrossFit training website isn’t really going to motivate or engage your users.
- Typography: The correct typography can make or break your UI design. Though it may seem to be just text, the text has a subconscious visual appeal. For example, how would a Fortune 500 website look with all text in ComicSans?
- Graphics: It’s become easier than ever before to create your own graphics. Good graphic design is, however, an art. It’s about conveying the message you want with just an image. Again, like all the other elements of UI design, this has to be done right so that it draws in your target audience.
A good UI design is one that has a good synergy between the various features, information flows freely and the items are placed in the right place for greater visibility.
Good UI Design
To provide the best user experience, you need to first understand your customer’s preferences, how they use the applications, the kind of platforms they are comfortable with and their convenience.
We will explore the elements of a good UI design using Apple’s iTunes design. iTunes is popular with music lovers across the world for its interactive features and ease of organizing music. Apple continues to be a leader in providing some of the best and most innovative UI designs; and has inspired other players in the market to give utmost importance to the user-interface designing process.
If you look at the iTunes application, the user interface is such that the customer easily associates it with his or her song collection. The display panels, the playlists, the individual songs and search controls are all designed in a way to reflect a song-focused theme. It allows for easy navigation between folders and files, music artistes, albums, recently played lists etc. in a very intuitive way. The key elements of a good UI design that Apple’s products use and you need to keep in mind while designing your website or applications are :
- Keep it Simple – For a great user interface, keep the navigation and controls simple to use. Like in our iTunes example, the user can easily navigate around to play songs, search playlists, eject a disk etc. because of its easily understandable menu options. Similarly, any application whether it’s an e-commerce application or social media platform, users shouldn’t find it difficult to find their way about and use the features.
- Be Consistent – Users are usually accustomed to a certain kind of usability such as the functionality and the symbols used. For example, in the iTunes application, Apple used familiar symbols for play, pause, and rewind and kept these symbols consistent in their other applications on products like iPod, iPad, iPhone etc. The users must be able to easily recognize the features; therefore, you need to be consistent in using the standard elements of your user interface across various platforms. This enhances their ability to pick up a new technology quickly and can share their learning experience on a range of other website or application features.
- Accessibility – Keep the important controls and menu options easily accessible on the interface; don’t keep them embedded in submenus or hidden away in deeper layers of the application. In iTunes, for example, the Genius option might be used less frequently but it’s easily accessible when you want to search songs that go great together and creates a playlist automatically. Similarly, the iTunes Store icon is placed at the right place so that the user can get song recommendations based on their previous purchases and helps them find the top albums of the week etc.
UI Design Tools
A good user interface not only needs to look good but also must be functionally effective. For a great UI design, use a design tool that will help you put together the various elements and convey it easily for your clients or stake holders. Photoshop is amongst the most popular design tools across the world. It not only allows you to create designs but also enables you to share your work with others through Creative Cloud. Learn how to create your own UI designs in Photoshop with this course
Flinto in another popular took used to create iOS and Android prototypes, this tool also gives you the freedom to test your application in the real world. Icon Slate lets you create icons, import and export them to any format for mobile or desktop applications with this amazing designing tool from Mac App Store.
So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and try our your hand at UI design! Do share your designs with us!
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