Archive for February, 2015

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How To Use Text Effectively in User-Interface Design

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Text clearly plays an important role in touchscreen user-interface design. However, it quite often doesn’t receive the attention to detail that it deserves.  Many UI designers get consumed with the appearance of the buttons, sliders and other elements of their design, and they let the look of the text fall to the wayside.  One good look at any well thought out touchscreen user-interface, will reveal that just as much attention was paid to the text, as any other elements of the design.  Here I will share some of my own personal guidelines for dealing with text in touchscreen UI design.  Some of these are admittedly, based on personal opinion, but they have always served me well, and I hope you will also find them helpful. More…

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6 Awesome Apps for UI Designers

designers-desk

All designers have their own workflow, and with it, their own set of software and apps they use to get things done. Personally, I love hearing about helpful new apps that will allow me to be more productive, organized, efficient or creative, so I thought I would share with you the 6 apps I can’t live without, and how I use them as an interface designer. More…

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5 Ways to Make a User Interface More Intuitive

Man Hard Hat

 

In the world of graphical user interface design, the word “intuitive” gets tossed around a lot. Many believe that an intuitive user interface is an impossibility, while others seem to use the term interchangeably with “user friendly” or “easy to use”. I fall outside of both camps. I believe that it is very possible to design a UI to be “intuitive”, and while it is a quality that may be intertwined with ease of use, I don’t think it is the same thing.

First off, it’s important to understand what “intuitive” means in terms of UI design. Webster’s defines it as: “based on or agreeing with what is known or understood without any proof or evidence”. Usually, when I hear an argument that intuitive user interface design is not possible, it’s supported by the suggestion that a person with absolutely no familiarity with any user interface, wouldn’t know how to operate a UI without some sort of instruction or help. There are two problems with this argument. First, unless an interface is being used by a member of an indigenous tribe of bush-people, or a time traveler from the middle-ages, the user will have some sort of previous experience with modern technology and UI. Secondly, and more poignantly, this argument applies to instinct rather than intuition. Instinct refers to the ability to do something naturally, or seemingly without thinking about it, like a reflex. Intuition is similar, but is based on previous experience or things learned. With this in mind, the concept of an intuitive user interface shouldn’t be hard to accept at all. So, how do we make sure our UI are intuitive for end users? Here I will detail five ways to make a user interface more intuitive, and show why I believe it is not only possible, but necessary to take this confusing and often misunderstood concept into account when creating any user interface. More…

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7 sure-fire ways to improve your automation system GUIs

Crestron-Smart-Graphics-Theme_iPhone-Hand_Mica-01Touchscreen user interface design is a very different beast than traditional, mouse-pointer operated UI/UX design. Moreover, within the realm of touchscreen UI design, creating interfaces for home and commercial automation systems presents its own unique set of challenges. In this article I will suggest several “rules of the road” to make the design process go more smoothly, and in turn improve your touchscreen-based automation system user interfaces. More…