User Interaction Design (UI Design) is about making the software, apps, devices and environments in a service you offer understandable, useful, navigable, intuitive to use and salient in order for users and customers to fulfil a goal.
UI design is concerned with the the ‘look and feel’ of content and elements that make up the way you deliver your service. Importantly UI design should enable the user to understand where they are in a journey and what they need to do next in the process of fulfilling a goal and completing a task.
Working with users in co-design workshops we look at their behaviours, the tasks they need to perform and the way they like to do things. Navigating complex systems is not about making things simple but rather understandable and intuitive.
User interface design requires a good understanding of user needs and behaviours. There are several phases and processes in the user interface design, some of which are more demanded upon than others, depending on the project. This consists of the following
- Functionality Requirements – gathering a list of the functionality required by the system (app, software, website etc.) to accomplish the goals of the project and the potential needs of the users.
- Needs and Task Analysis – a form of field research, this is the analysis of the potential users of the service or system by studying how they perform the tasks that the design must support, and conducting interviews to elucidate their goals. Typical questions involve:
- What would the user want the system to do?
- How would the system fit in with the user’s normal workflow or daily activities?
- How technically savvy is the user and what similar systems does the user already use?
- What interface look & feel styles appeal to the user
- Information architecture – development of the process and/or information flow of the system (i.e. for web sites this would be a site flow that shows the hierarchy of the pages).
- Prototyping – development of wire-frames, either in the form of paper prototypes or simple interactive screens. These prototypes are stripped of all look & feel elements and most content in order to concentrate on the interface.
- Usability Inspection – letting an evaluator inspect a user interface. This is generally considered to be cheaper to implement than usability testing (see step below), and can be used early on in the development process since it can be used to evaluate prototypes or specifications for the system, which usually can’t be tested on users. Some common usability inspection methods include cognitive walkthrough, which focuses the simplicity to accomplish tasks with the system for new users, heuristic evaluation, in which a set of heuristics are used to identify usability problems in the UI design, and pluralistic walkthrough, in which a selected group of people step through a task scenario and discuss usability issues.
- Usability Testing – testing of the prototypes on an actual user—often using a technique called think aloud protocol where you ask the user to talk about their thoughts during the experience. User interface design testing allows the designer to understand the reception of the design from the viewer’s standpoint, and thus facilitates creating successful applications.
- Graphical User Interface Design – the actual ‘look and feel’ or design theme of the final graphical user interface (GUI). It may be based on the findings developed during the user research, and refined to fix any usability problems found through the results of testing.
We develop wireframes and mock-ups of design layouts and develop the ‘look and feel’ of the website or App and test it with the people who will use it. We look at the hierarchy structure of information to ensure the user is able to navigate with ease. With new code and technology being developed everyday we identify how to deliver an intuitive and easy to use interface on any device. We recognise and know that today’s customers want memorable experiences and we have a proven track record in designing and developing award winning UI designs.