Mobile Application and GUI Design
If you want to design a great, functional mobile app interface, design principles are hugely important.
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User interface (UI) designers work closely with user experience (UX) designers and other design specialists. Their job is to make sure that every page and every step a user will experience in their interaction with the finished product will conform to the overall vision created by UX designers.
However, unlike UX designers, since UI designers are responsible for making UX designers’ visions a reality, many UI designers have a good understanding of front-end development and some coding skills.
Elements of Graphical User Interface Design
Graphical User Interface elements include but are not limited to:
- 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
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Best Practices for Designing an Interface
Everything stems from knowing your users, including understanding their goals, skills, preferences, and tendencies. Once you know about your user, make sure to consider the following when designing your interface:
- Keep the interface simple. The best interfaces are almost invisible to the user. They avoid unnecessary elements and are clear in the language they use on labels and in messaging.
- Create consistency and use common UI elements. By using common elements in your UI, users feel more comfortable and are able to get things done more quickly. It is also important to create patterns in language, layout and design throughout the site to help facilitate efficiency. Once a user learns how to do something, they should be able to transfer that skill to other parts of the site.
- 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.
- Strategically use color and texture. You can direct attention toward or redirect attention away from items using color, light, contrast, and texture to your advantage.
- Use typography to create hierarchy and clarity. Carefully consider how you use typeface. Different sizes, fonts, and arrangement of the text to help increase scanability, legibility and readability.
- Make sure that the system communicates what’s happening. Always inform your users of location, actions, changes in state, or errors. The use of various UI elements to communicate status and, if necessary, next steps can reduce frustration for your user.
- Think about the defaults. By carefully thinking about and anticipating the goals people bring to your site, you can create defaults that reduce the burden on the user. This becomes particularly important when it comes to form design where you might have an opportunity to have some fields pre-chosen or filled out.
- Identify and respond to user needs through conducting user research while still meeting organizational goals.
- Produce information that is easily understood and acted upon.
- Create systems that better facilitate transactions, internally and externally.
- Deliver information so that it can be accessed anywhere and through various channels and technologies.
- Encourage participation by making it easy to connect with people.
- Increase productivity and efficiency with usable systems.
- Improve based upon feedback and analysis of other performance measurements.