I have a good friend who is a very highly experienced PHP developer and insists that UI and UX aren’t real and just a fad. UI or User Interface design is real, I can assure you. It’s always been around but now it is more structured and serious and makes huge differences along with UX design.
For those that aren’t sure UI design is literally the design of any digital interface that you use.
This could be a small menu screen on your Bosch washing machine to a full-blown Windows operating system on your PC at home. This is a human interactive interface that has to seem organic and natural based on the functional requirement of the service it is built for. The best design is when it seems easy and natural and doesn’t require any guide books. The idea behind UI design is to maximise the efficiency and responsiveness whilst looking aesthetically pleasing, which by definition will result in a positive User Experience or UX.
UI design has become more and more important, as it should be, especially with the rise of mobile applications. This has fostered a new interactivity that was never before needed. We now have people using applications that require the user to interact with them quickly, with bold visual results whilst sometimes interacting with them with just a thumb. Along with this and the psychology of design using the correct fonts, white space, iconography and even an emotional connection with subtle animations especially as a ‘reward’ for certain interactions.
A good UI designer will build a full, consistent design system that can be used with minimum fuss throughout the whole brand. It should feel natural and organic. The less someone has to think about the whole interaction the better with minimum or no frustrations. It should be easy to make changes that can be reflected across the whole design with minimum fuss and mathematical precision. An example, if a brand needs its primary brand colour to change for the winter season promotion, then we should be able to edit a simple colour scheme to test throughout the whole design.
The journey to a good UI design should have a journey from beginning to end working alongside the UX design and specific times.
UI Design can be created with pens, pencils, crayons, visualisation software, or built-in code. The end results is an interface or a simulation of one, that can be used to test, iterate and release a product or service. The main reason for this is for creativity and problem solving to flow freely whilst building up the design system which will then be adapted and moved over to the User Experience phase.
If you have any other ideas, questions or solutions, or even if you just wish to share your opinion on what UI Design is, please do share in the comments below.