User Interface Design

By Victor T.

When making a website one of the most important parts of the system is the user’s interactions. The connection between the screen and the users needs to be designed to make his/her experience as easy and efficient as possible. Interface design is the process of defining how a system will interact with external entities (Dennis). There are principles of designing a user interface that every designer should follow. The three big principles are layout, consistency, and clarity.

Many sources have their own principles for designing a well made user interface. All of these sources have very similar principles that we will discuss. One of the most important principles is the layout of the system. The page layout should be purposeful with careful placements of buttons, information, items, etc (usability.gov). The layout will help draw attention to the items that are most important (usability.gov). Designers usually use a layout with the top area for the header and navigation, the middle area for items and important information, and the bottom area for status information (Dennis) Websites with that layout for example are facebook.com, youtube.com, and cpp.edu.

Another important principle to the user interface is consistency. Consistency helps the user remember where to look for certain items. It makes it easier to use and to predict. When users come back they should be familiar with the site and how it works. Consistency also helps make less errors by building the user’s mental model of where everything lays (Mahanti). If you layout your site like the example in the last paragraph it should stay with the same design throughout every page of your website. So wherever you go on the site the navigation should stay on the top and rest follow it. Consistency in the wording and clicking applies as well. If you have to double clicked for an item on one page it should be the same for all the pages (Mahanti).

Clarity is a big principle that could turn an okay website to a great one. If parts or all of your site is unclear users will avoid and ignore it because they do not understand what is happening. If you have an item on your site that does not have a clear meaning the user will most likely avoid the element (99designs.com). Keeping the interface simple helps avoid items to be unclear. You want to arrange the text and items in different sizes to increase scanability, legibility, and readability (usability.gov).

There are websites now that actually help you make websites. Two big names are Wix and Weebly. Both are free and provides templates to start making your website. You could start with a blank site or choose from their hundreds of templates. These templates help you achieve a good user interface by showing you where things should go and how clear it should look. It really hits all three principles.

 

In conclusion, when designing a user interface it should have a clear, consistent, and purposeful layout. Users will come back and remember how it works because of the clarity. Try to avoid error and unnecessary elements. The site should have a good flow to it and should continue in each page. If you need help there are websites now built to help you get started.

 

 

 

References

 

7 unbreakable laws of user interface design. (2014, January 15). Retrieved November 17, 2015, from https://99designs.com/designer-blog/2014/01/15/7-unbreakable-laws-of-user-interface-design/

 

Dennis, A., & Wixom, B. (2009). Systems analysis design, UML version 2.0: An object-oriented approach (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: J. Wiley.

 

Mahanti, R. (2009). The application of quality function deployment to user interface design. The Quality Management Journal,16(1), 29-41. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/213615702?accountid=10357

 

User Interface Design Basics. (n.d.). Retrieved November 17, 2015, from http://www.usability.gov/what-and-why/user-interface-design.html