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User Interface Design

The visual part of a computer application or operating system through which a client interacts with a computer or software. It determines how commands are given to the computer or the program and how data is displayed on the screen.

Types of User Interface

There are two main types of User Interface:

  • Text-Based User Interface or Command Line Interface
  • Graphical User Interface (GUI)

Text-Based User Interface: This method relies primarily on the keyboard. A typical example of this is UNIX.

Advantages

  • Many and easier to customizations options.
  • Typically capable of more important tasks.

Disadvantages

  • Relies heavily on recall rather than recognition.
  • Navigation is often more difficult.

Graphical User Interface (GUI): GUI relies much more heavily on the mouse. A typical example of this type of interface is any versions of the Windows operating systems.

GUI Characteristics

Characteristics Descriptions
Windows Multiple windows allow different information to be displayed simultaneously on the user's screen.
Icons Icons different types of information. On some systems, icons represent files. On other icons describes processes.
Menus Commands are selected from a menu rather than typed in a command language.
Pointing A pointing device such as a mouse is used for selecting choices from a menu or indicating items of interests in a window.
Graphics Graphics elements can be mixed with text or the same display.

Advantages

  • Less expert knowledge is required to use it.
  • Easier to Navigate and can look through folders quickly in a guess and check manner.
  • The user may switch quickly from one task to another and can interact with several different applications.

Disadvantages

  • Typically decreased options.
  • Usually less customizable. Not easy to use one button for tons of different variations.

UI Design Principles

User Interface Design

Structure: Design should organize the user interface purposefully, in the meaningful and usual based on precise, consistent models that are apparent and recognizable to users, putting related things together and separating unrelated things, differentiating dissimilar things and making similar things resemble one another. The structure principle is concerned with overall user interface architecture.

Simplicity: The design should make the simple, common task easy, communicating clearly and directly in the user's language, and providing good shortcuts that are meaningfully related to longer procedures.

Visibility: The design should make all required options and materials for a given function visible without distracting the user with extraneous or redundant data.

Feedback: The design should keep users informed of actions or interpretation, changes of state or condition, and bugs or exceptions that are relevant and of interest to the user through clear, concise, and unambiguous language familiar to users.

Tolerance: The design should be flexible and tolerant, decreasing the cost of errors and misuse by allowing undoing and redoing while also preventing bugs wherever possible by tolerating varied inputs and sequences and by interpreting all reasonable actions.


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