User Interface (UI) is a term used to describe how users interact with the system. Everyone involved in software development acknowledges the importance of user interface into bringing the product more closely to the needs of the customer.
By user interface (UI), we describe how the system will interact with entities (customers, or even other systems). The effectiveness of that interaction is referred to as user experience (UX).
UI is a wider subject than UX. Therefore, it contains the aesthetic appearances of the device, the response time and the content provided to a user. Read more about user experience here. User interface should make the user aware of the content the system contains and that can be achieved with a proper interface design. Organize elements, use proper colors and friendly fonts so your content can be more readable to the user.
Elements of UI:
Interface elements include:
- Input Controls: buttons, text fields, checkboxes, radio buttons, dropdown lists, list boxes, toggles, date field
- Navigational Components: breadcrumb, slider, search field, pagination, slider, tags, icons
- Informational Components: tooltips, icons, progress bar, notifications, message boxes, modal windows
- Containers: accordion.
The proper combination of these four elements is what makes an effective user experience.
Types of UI:
There are five main types of user interface, depending on the way the system interacts with the user:
- Command line – The computer responds on command types of the operator.
- Graphical user interface (GUI) – Operator uses a pointing device on the screen (mouse, touchpad) which interacts with the other screen elements.
- Menu driven – A series of menus and sub-menus which the user accesses by pressing buttons.
- Form based – Consists of text-boxes, drop-down menus, text areas, check boxes, radio boxes and buttons to create an electronic form which a user completes in order to enter data into a system.
- Natural language – A spoken interface where the user interacts with the computer by talking to it (SQL).
Here is some advice on how to combine user interface elements for a better performance:
- Keep it simple and consistent. Your users should get to their destination with three clicks. Avoid unnecessary elements, use a clear language and create patterns in layout and design.
- Be purposeful in page layout. Consider the spatial relationships between items on the page and structure the page based on importance. Careful placement of items can help draw attention to the most important pieces of information and can aid scanning and readability.
- Format your text. Get attention toward or redirect attention away from items using color, light, contrast, and texture to your advantage.
- Use typography. Different sizes, fonts, and arrangement of the text will help you increase legibility and readability with better element organization.
- Be responsive. Responsive design I s a must these days. Anything that isn’t mobile available is a lost battle. So, make sure you are available on all devices and be appealing on all of them.
A good start of a great use interface design process is to create an interface structure diagram, so the process will be visualized. Use them to show how all the screens, forms, and reports used by the system relate and how the user moves from one to another.
Keep your interface enjoyable. Your users should feel familiar with how the system operates, even if they’re using it for the first time. Also, make it forgiving. Keep your users away from making costly mistakes, but also make it easy for them to repair them. Achieve a balance in its performance and et that balance on a wise level. Less is more, remember?