How products interact with users is a critical part of any product design. Professional product development companies understand this and strive to consider user interface (UI) design in every project. Learn more about user interface. design and product development, and what it takes to make a product design project successful.

What is user interface design?

A user interface (UI) is the part of a machine, product, or device with which a person interacts. A user interface is what an individual uses to make a machine or product do what he or she wants it to do. The user interface should be intuitive and simple to use for all involved. With mobile devices becoming more prevalent, user interfaces are a common part of most physical product design. As such, product designers work to create products that seamlessly integrate the mobile screen and the device itself, as human interaction is embedded in products to combine the physical with the virtual.

User interface design focuses on anticipating what users might need to do and making sure that the interface has elements that are easy to access, comprehend, and use to facilitate those activities. UI brings together concepts from interaction design, visual design, and information architecture.

Why is UI important?

UI design is important for several reasons. First and foremost, it helps to ensure that the product is not only functional, but user friendly. In other words, the product needs to be fairly easy to use without creating frustration on behalf of the user. It needs to be fairly intuitive with little learning curve. It needs to help make interaction with the user fairly natural. Examples of this include voice controls and gesture controls.

User interface design best practices

Jakob Nielsen, a renowned web usability consultant and partner in the Nielsen Norman Group, and Rolf Molich, another prominent usability expert, established a list of ten user interface design guidelines:

  • Visibility of system status
  • Match between system and the real world
  • User control and freedom
  • Consistency and standards
  • Error prevention
  • Recognition rather than recall
  • Flexibility and efficiency of use
  • Aesthetic and minimalist design
  • Help users recognize, diagnose and recover from errors
  • Help and documentation

In general, the above list illustrates how to anticipate user needs for seamless interaction, and incorporate that into the product design. Oftentimes, this will be illustrated during the design documentation process while in other projects, the need for enhanced user interface design is discovered during analysis.

Incorporating UI in your product development project

It is very important for the product to strike a connection with its user, make them feel comfortable while interacting, and also be helpful in achieving what the user initially intended for.  Based on the three concepts of usability, accessibility and performance, you can incorporate UI design into your product development project by designing the product through the eyes of the user. What problem does your product solve, and does the UI facilitate the solution, or merely instead create a usability problem? Look at your design from the perspective of product evolution as well. A constantly evolving design is  highly necessary for product interface. The demands of the user are constantly evolving, which makes it even more important for the UX designers to cater to the evolving user requirements by incorporating the modern trends. Tap outside resources to review and test your product for usability today and in the future.

User interface design and product development will always go hand in hand. Reach out to a product design specialist to help ensure your product successfully addresses UI.

Morten Jensen
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