Everything You Need To Know About User Interface (UI)
What Is User Interface?
The user interface or (UI) can be defined by the point of human to computer interaction and communication through a specific device. This can include but is not limited to display screens, keyboards, a mouse, and visual aspects of a desktop. We also utilize user interfaces to interact with websites, software, and applications.
Designers use UI to build new interfaces, develop software aesthetics, and typically focus on looks, style, and usability. UI designers work hard to produce intuitive compositions that are both reflexive and instinctive. A well-crafted UI design will respond to users' needs intuitively. Convoluted structures are broken down into digestible chunks that can be easily interpreted by the user.
What Are The 3 Primary Types Of User Interface?
There are three different types of UI that each come with a range of advantages and disadvantages.
Command Line Interface
The Command-Line interface isn’t as common today as it was ten years ago and is no longer found in the majority of everyday consumer products. It’s still used by a handful of industries that require greater control over an OS or application.
Users are required to type relevant instructions into the Command Line Interface which instructs the computer to locate the necessary file or directory. This triggers specific commands to become available including file retrieval and running programs.
Menu Driven Interface
The menu-driven interface delivers a powerful range of commands that are displayed as full-screen lists or menus that intuitively pop up, pull down, and drop down as required. Everything from iPods to mobile phones, all have menu-driven interfaces. They present you with a menu and guide you through the process to reach the next step.
Menu-driven interfaces are useful to people who don’t want to remember lengthy command lists and provide a simple user interface for beginners.
Graphical User Interface
A GUI or Graphical User Interface is the most common type of user interface on the market today and is probably the one that users are most familiar with. Interactions can be made through the use of a mouse or a trackpad to point and click on graphics or icons. GUIs are intuitive, easy to use, and allow businesses to simultaneously run multiple programs, tasks, and applications with relative ease.
User Interface Design
User interface (UI) design is a design process that is used to build interfaces in computerized devices or software that concentrates on style and aesthetics. UI designers endeavor to simplify processes and build intuitive designs that are both easy to use and pleasurable.
The purpose of user interface design is to anticipate user actions by predicting paths and guaranteeing ease of access. It’s about ensuring the continued collaboration between interactive design, visual design, and informational architecture.
User Interface Elements
UI designers try to be as consistent and predictive as possible when creating intuitive designs that ensure task completion, satisfaction, and efficiency. Certain elements have become familiar to users who have learned to interact with them in predictable ways.
The following are the most common user interface elements.
Input controls include radio buttons, checkboxes, list boxes, dropdown lists, buttons, toggles, text fields, and date fields.
Navigational components include slider, breadcrumb, search field, pagination, tags, and icons.
Informational components include icons, tooltips, progress bar, notifications, modal windows, and message boxes.
User Interface In Software Engineering
In software engineering, the user interface pertains to the front-end application view and defines how a person operates and interacts with a piece of software. The user interface can be wielded to manipulate and control software. It provides valuable insights into software applications and is the most important outlet for human-computer exchange.
Within operating systems, the user interface is the program or device that enables a user to enter commands and interpret or receive information.
User Interface Testing
User interface or UI testing is a method of measuring an application's visual elements and inferring whether they accurately meet performance and functionality goals. The benefits of testing UI are vast and can help to ensure that crucial UI functions are defect-free.
UI testing examines visual indicators including menus, text boxes, and buttons. It can be executed manually or with an automated testing tool. The outcome of an effective UI test should ensure that all UI elements meet goals, specifications, and targets.
What Is UX?
UX writing is the method of creating UI copy that virtually steers users within a product, helping them to interact with it. UI copy is broad and can include buttons, error messages, security notes, menu labels, terms and conditions, and any user guidelines on product usage. The most important goal of UX writing is to establish effective communication between a digital product and its end-user.
What’s The Difference Between UX and UI?
The terms UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) are often interchangeable terms that have two very different meanings.
UI implements and measures the interaction between software, computer systems, and applications. UI design is seen as both creative and scientific. The copy needs to be creatively driven, but it also needs to be based on fact.
UX focuses on how a person interacts with a product, system, or service and is defined by customers' perceptions of intuitiveness, logic, and coherence.
Hardware User Interfaces
Touchscreen user interfaces are the newest addition and provide intuitive design elements that are operated by the fingertips or in some cases, a stylus. Capacitive touch screens use dedicated operating systems that manage interactions between software and hardware.
Most hardware devices use GUIs that aren't as sophisticated as software interfaces. They allow users to interact with hardware and are a combination of computerized electrical and analytical signals that control how hardware communicates within a system.
User Interface Examples
Examples of user interfaces could include but are not limited to:
- Remote Control
- Computer Mouse & Keyboard
- Virtual Reality Headset
How Has Digital Transformation Evolved User Interface?
One of the most important factors surrounding digital transformation is the modernization of UI and UX applications. As businesses move to become more customer-centric, internal-facing platforms are transforming the way businesses across the globe are interacting with customers.
Understanding end-users is the key to implementing modern strategies that are healthy. Beta testing and feedback are also important components and help to maximize revenue, increase customer retention and improve end-user satisfaction.
UI is an integral part of digital transformation strategies, especially for modern businesses. It provides and measures interaction between users within an organization, its products, and services.
Businesses that don’t consider users' needs from the initial iteration of a product or service will likely spend more in the long term fixing bugs and errors. Investing in long-term UI development will ensure that your business is prepared for the next step of digital transformation.
Disclaimer: This article was originally written for the Walk.Me Glossary.