Since its early beginning, computer science technology has been focused on creating excellent interfaces. When creating a product, the goal is to reach the correct audience, and the users become customers. A lot has passed since the start of web development. A tremendous amount of tech improvement has been reached. Further, the way people experience technology and the internet has changed. Audiences are becoming demanding about edges like quality, UX, usability, and aesthetic appeal. User Interface, or UI, is a large field with many corners. But in this article, we want to try to resume a few of its most essential principles to help you achieve an optimized UI. So, keep reading to know more!
What is User Interface (UI)?
User Interface (UI) links human users with a computer, website, or application. It encompasses any element that allows users to interact with a device's information. UIs have layers of interaction appealing to the human senses. Moreover, they include two types of interaction. At the same time, input devices include keyboards, mouses, and microphones, and output devices encompass monitors and speakers. When different senses interact with a device, it's called "Multimedia User Interfaces."
When discussing UI, we tend to agree that it's a fundamental part of digital companies. The common aim is to develop products with efficient interfaces and experiences. The main goal of a successful UI is to make the User Experience easy and intuitive.
What Are The Types of UI?
We experience UI daily through tactile and visual inputs and outputs. But, many types of interfaces exist. This brings many possibilities for users to interact with web content. Let's review some of them below.
1. Form-Based UI. It's used to enter data into a program or application by offering a limited selection of choices. For example, a settings menu on a device is form-based.
2. Menu-Driven UI. This UI uses a list of choices to navigate within a program or website. The user interacts with the device by navigating through screens and menus. For instance, ATMs use menu-driven UIs willing to be accessible for everyone to use.
3. Touch-Based UI. This interface allows users to interact with devices through haptics or touch. Most smartphones, tablets, and any device with touch screens have haptic input.
4. Voice-Based UI. Voice Based UIs use speech recognition to execute interactions between users and devices. Some examples include virtual assistants like Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant. Further, it also encompasses talk-to-text and GPS.
5. Graphical UI. This interface (GUI) allows users to interact with devices through graphical elements. The devices' elements encompass computers, tablets, and smartphones. Replacing text-based commands with friendly actions aims to show easier decision points. Further, GUI lets you control your device with a mouse, pen, or finger.
Why Is User Interface Design Important?
User Interface Design or User Interface Engineering designs interfaces for different software elements. These encompass computers, mobile devices, and home appliances. Its final purpose is to improve the User Experience. Moreover, efficient UIs help accomplishes user goals. The actions leading to these goals receive the name of User-Centered Design (UCD). UCD is a framework of processes not restricted to interfaces or technologies. In it, end users' needs, desires, and limitations are at the focus of each stage. That's why teams give extensive attention to these processes and their solutions.
Moreover, the dev stages involving UCD also include analysis and testing. In this sense, it’s crucial to establish work plans with steps to follow. This planning encompasses testing the assumptions on real-world user behavior at each stage. Further, it needs concept definition, pre-production, mid-production, and post-production models. As a result, this creates a form error-proof to confirm or change original requests. Often, it can be challenging for designers to understand the final users learning curves. In consequence, testing is vital for the process' success.
What are User Interface (UI) Main Elements?
Consistency and predictability are essential when choosing interface elements. This happens because users are used to specific features acting in a certain way. As a result, this collaborates with easing task completion. While this predictability improves web efficiency, it also increases user satisfaction. Some of the most common elements in UI Design include Inputs (checkboxes, dropdown lists, buttons, toggles, and text or data fields) and Navigation (like breadcrumbs, sliders, search fields, and tags. There is also Information elements, like tooltips, progress bars, or modal windows; and Containers like, for example, accordions or menus.
Furthermore, as we already know, the main goal is to reach every possible customer. This encompasses giving the best possible experience for each of them. For that, it's essential to focus on four main aspects to understand, reach and build a great UI.
1. Accessibility. Ensure your web or application is usable and enjoyable for as many people as possible. The goal should be to develop products that don’t leave anyone behind.
2. Usability. Maintaining an intuitive interface prevents the users from reaching for complex instructions to interact with your product.
3. Maintainability. These requirements simplify engagement needs and let users awash with them. Before developing, it’s crucial to think about what you want to do. Further, your product's goal must be accompanied by a correct plan to face the future.
4. Stability. Also, it's important to offer some stability. As a result, this will help users engage and trust your product. Staying reliable and preventing bad surprises for them encourages loyalty.
Remember that, like all software, there is no "right way" to build a user interface application. Trust your team and customer expertise for the best dev experience.
User Interface Design vs. Front-End Development
Front-End is a term within Software Architecture. It represents the presentation layer in software. In this context, User Interface (UI) covers human-machine interactions. Keep in mind that these roles intersect a lot of the time, especially in smaller teams. Yet, it’s important to outline its difference. While Front-End focuses on development tasks, UI ensures the designing areas.
User Interface Designers, instead, focus on user flow, design principles, style, and branding. Moreover, they're in charge of creating wireframes and graphic representations of interfaces. They rely on graphic design, prototyping, and wireframing software to do so. In summary, Front End Development and User Interface Design are not quite the same. While Front-End is used for development tasks, UI is for designing tasks.
What are the Benefits of Good UIs?
Now we know some of the most relevant elements within UI Design. Below, we’ll acknowledge the benefits that a well-designed UI can bring to businesses: Businesses need to have a robust digital presence to succeed. This is where UI Design plays a vital role. As we’ve seen above, an appealing User Interface Design can ease usability. As a result, the User Interface helps to improve the final users' experience. Also, UI can ensure better results and keep your visitors engaged and retained. Some other benefits of a well-design UI enclose:
● Productivity: Users will meet their needs faster if your product has a user-friendly interface. As a result, productivity improves for users and brands.
● Customers: Focusing on designing a UI can act as a key brand differentiator. For instance, it can make a brand competitive and attractive to new customers. This competitiveness creates increasing sales and revenue opportunities.
● Loyalty: As we said before, an appealing UI design helps to engage customers. Further, it helps decrease the possibility of users’ frustration or bounce back.
● Costs: Having an outstanding UI design from the beginning helps avoid possible future problems. For instance, it can even reduce customer service costs. That's because there would be less need for support services. The fact is that a well-designed interface causes fewer problems for designers. In the end, it avoids extra costs and reduces time and effort.
A well-designed User Interface has many advantages, as you know now. As discussed above, a good UI design helps to increase user engagement and trust. Moreover, it's helpful to achieve better overall functionalities. We hope this article has helped you unfold UI Design's role in Software Development. Further, we'd love it if it helped you consider UI in your business plans from the early beginnings!