What is a User Interface?

A user interface, as the name suggests, is part of a design that allows the user to interact with the product in a meaningful way.  The interface facilitates anything that the user might need to do with the product in a way that is clear, smooth, and natural.  With that in mind, what are some…

A user interface, as the name suggests, is part of a design that allows the user to interact with the product in a meaningful way.  The interface facilitates anything that the user might need to do with the product in a way that is clear, smooth, and natural.  With that in mind, what are some of the features of the best user interfaces?

  • Knowing the User – the best user interfaces demonstrate an innate understanding of how the user will use the device. Careful product testing and good customer feedback can allow for the creation of an interface that meets a user’s specific needs.
  • Consistency – The product design should be consistent with a user’s expectations. For instance, users expect on a sink faucet that red means hot and blue means cold.  Changing the colors would be inconsistent with their experience.  The interface should also be consistent within itself.  If the interface has many parts or there are multiple interfaces in the same device, then there should be a uniformity of design so that once the user understands one part of it, he or she understands all of it.
  • Visually Focus on What’s Important – Not all functions are created equal. Use visual cues such as color, texture, or size to indicate the most important functions of the product and use space to demonstrate relationships.  This helps users rely on their own experience to understand this new product.
  • Keep it Simple – Overly complicated product designs that require complicated user inputs can become cumbersome, and the users won’t want to be users anymore.

Keep it Invisible – You never hear anyone say, “I love this user interface,” because the best user interfaces won’t even be recognized as such by the users.  They will feel natural and become second-nature in a very short time.

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