There is a tendency to call computers “tools”, which creates a bit of a false equivalency between computers and more traditional tools like needles, hammers, and screwdrivers.
The difference is, of course, the interface. A hammer’s “UI”, such as it is, is not terribly complex. There is one way to take it in your hand, and one way to apply your hammer-holding hand to a nail.
There is a reason why there are no “hammer literacy classes”.
With a computer (and I include things like tablets and smartphones here), the sheer variety of new input methods is staggering.
Let’s start with a simple concept: what would happen if you clicked on this icon here?
A UI designer’s biggest job is communication.
With today’s computing, our products can deliver millions of bits of information to the users. Making that information accessible and letting our users navigate it the way they prefer is the essence of UI design.
One of the best crutches we have for efficient communication with our users is filters. Designing filters is all about ensuring the users can get exactly what they want, with minimal browsing.
In this article, I’ll talk about what search filters are, when they are necessary, how to choose which filters to add, discuss sidebars vs horizontal toolbars…
Modern technology is complex. It’s not always complicated though, thanks to our constant striving to make human-computer interaction an effortless experience.
However, the more intricate a service/product, the more difficult our job becomes. Two factors make our job today tougher than ever:
This is why today UI is all about creating and structuring feature hierarchies.
Creating a feature hierarchy is easy enough…
Windows. Icons. Menus. Pointer. WIMP.
WIMP’s been the main style of human-computer interaction ever since the Xerox team came up with it back in the ’70s to imitate actual office desktops.
And while it’s unequivocally functional, sometimes it feels like we’re treading water in a four-decade-old pool, instead of facing new and different frameworks. WIMP’s so dominant, that it’s tough to imagine working with a computer without it.
This is where ubiquitous computing (ubicomp) presents an interesting challenge for us to consider.
Ubicomp is a somewhat nebulous term, but for our purposes, it means the kind of technology that’s designed…
Directing users’ attention. That, they say, is the primary job of a designer. But I’d argue that things are a bit more complicated than that.
Depending on the product we’re building, a user might simply be forced to give us attention to get a vital service or a product. At that point, the attention is a given, but does that make every banking app well-designed? Of course not. This is where we come across the idea that good design might just mean that users want to give us attention.
This is where the somewhat nebulous concept of “gamification” comes in…