The purpose of the user interface design is to enhance the visual quality, usability and the technological qualities of an interface design. It adds and enhances the satisfaction level of the people who use that particular product or service. Some of the qualities of an interface which makes it a successful interface include; usefulness, learnability, efficiency, ease of memorization, reliability and friendliness with user.
The first thing which is important for the successful design of the user interface is its usability by the user. The user should be placed in control of the interface. It’s important that the designer to understand the users of his products and follow some principles while designing an interface. These principles include
Making judicious use of the modes, giving flexibility to the consumer by allowing to use either keyboard or mouse, user can easily change his focus without any problem, gives help by making use of descriptive messages or text, Provide support through immediate and reversible actions and feedback, provides an easy navigation, accessible by users of all skill levels, facilitates through transparency in usage, allow customization and should be interactive by allowing the users to manipulate the objects in interface directly (Mandel,1997).All these things make the user feel that they are in control of the interface they are using.
The interface design should not place too much burden on the memory of the user. Give a relieve to the short term memory of the consumer. Simple things like copy, paste, do undo, in the interface provide support to the memory. It’s much better to make the consumer rely on long term memory cues related to recognition rather than on recall information (Mandel, 1997). Don’t make them remember what they did last or in previous actions they performed (Japenga, 1997). Another important thing is to provide visual cues or visibility to your user. They user must be able to know through these cues that where they are, what they are currently doing and what they plan to do next. Blinking text cursor, fonts and their size, orientation, scroll bar, page numbers in the Microsoft office Word application are some of the examples of the textual visual cues (Mandel, 1997). The visual clarity of the interface is also an important thing. It’s better to provide interface shortcuts along with object- action syntax.
It’s better to apply maximum natural mapping in the user interface design. Natural mapping is much easier and can be easily implemented. For example, an up arrow placed just next to the number will provide a clue to most of the users that if they press the up arrow key, it will cause the numbers to go upwards (Japenga, 1997).
The interface design should be efficient to its user. It should make the user to click make fewer key strokes or mouse clicks to perform the desired action. A good example is of ‘Save and Add Another’ option in the Yahoo mail which saves the time of the user (Japenga, 1997).
User testing or proto type is a conceptual and theoretical frame work of the whole interface design before moving towards a practical side. It’s simply a model of how your user perceives the working of the device. (Japenga,1997). The purpose behind is to improve and remove maximum possible errors from the product or service to make it user friendly to the people.
Heuristic Evaluation is used to inspect the usability of the interface. it is quick, easy and cheap. The aim of the Heuristic evaluation is to locate the problems in the user interface design so that they can be fixed as a part of the process of interactive design. a small set of evaluators are used to check the interface and to judge whether it comply with the recognized usability principles or not (Neilsen,2013).
Japenga,R.(1997). Principles of Software Driven User Interface Design for Business and Industrial Applications. retrieved on 17th May 2013 from http://www.microtoolsinc.com/PrinciplesofUserInterfaceDesign.pdf
Mandel,T.(1997). The Elements of User Interface Design. John Wiley & Sons.
Nielsen,N. (2013). Heuristic Evaluation. Retrieved on 17 May 2013 from http://www.nngroup.com/topic/heuristic-evaluation/