Day: February 18, 2014

User Interface

This week was a big step for me. This is when I began to design the user interface for my application. As always, my first step was to research the user interface and get a really goo understanding of what I should be doing. I also looked at many examples online and on my phone to see what style the popular applications are using. As previously noticed, the metro flat look is extremely popular right now.

The first site I viewed Titled Debunking the UX myth. Over again, did a great job of explaining the difference between UI and UX. It descried the content of the design the vegetables in a meal. The UI is the empty plate, and the UX is the thoughtfully laid out vegetables on the plate. This was helpful to me to keep in mind what responsibilities and goals lay where.

The next site I saw was called 10 User Interface Design Fundamentals. This  site listed the 10 fundimentals of user interface design.  The list was:

  1. know your user
  2. pay attention to patterns
  3. stay consistent
  4. use visual hierarchy
  5. provide feedback
  6. be forgiving
  7. empower your user
  8. speak their language
  9. keep it simple
  10. keep moving forward

I found fundamental 2 to be really important. In the article it says, “By using familiar UI patterns, you will help your users feel at home.” This brings me back to the importance in viewing popular apps for inspiration. People do not like too much change.

I also found fundamental three to be a good point. It said, “Your users need consistency. They need to know that once they learn to do something, they will be able to do it again.” Inconsistently problems often show up in usability tests. An app should be constant in design, and structure. The user should not have to learn to learn the app every time it enters a new screen.

As I continued to read I found some more helpful hints on User Interface Design Basics. The most important thing I found here was, “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.” When designing my interface I kept this in mind and tried to keep it as simple as possible. Unfortunately my app does require a lot of words on the individual recipes, however I tried to keep it as simple as possible.

The next site I saw was titled Principles of User Interface Design. This site talked a lot about how people live and think. For example, people live busy lives full of interuptions. It is important to create a design that is not overly complex, but keeps the user interested and not destracted.

It also said, “Humans are most comfortable when they feel in control of themselves and their environment. Thoughtless software takes away that comfort by forcing people into unplanned interactions, confusing pathways, and surprising outcomes.” This is also really important. The user should not feel forced into something by the design. The app should be laid out in a way that the user feels in control of their actions and decisions.

The last website I went on was  UI Parade. This website was extremely useful in coming up with my different user interface designs. It provides its users with several different designs for common items found in UI designs.

It had collections of options and examples of buttons, forms, ui kits, icons, knobs, players, misc, modals, nav, progress, scrollers, search box, sliders and switches.

These varieties of icons can really help put together different feels and looks for an interface. While I am leaning towards the trending flat look of the applications today, it was really important to get a good feel of the direction I wanted to go in.

Although the reading was very helpful and brought up some really important points that stuck with me in the design process, the best research was looking around at existing applications. This research inspired the possible different looks of my app.