Web Interactivity and Engagement

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User Interface Design

In previous posts, I took a look at User Experience and the psychology behind it based on the ideas and views of a few different experts. View those posts here and here.

Today, I’d like to explore a close relative to User Experience Design,  User Interface Design. For starters, what is UI design and how is it different from UX? Web Designer Depot has a pretty great article to help us out, UI vs UX, What’s the Difference? that states “User Interface design is the part of the product that faces the user when he looks at the site, and the User Experience is how they feel when they look at the site, aka the broad scope.” Put simply, one is how your website appears, the other is how your audience feels when they visit. The article explains in depth how vital UI design is to the UX bigger picture and has some really great analogies to help along the way, as well as explaining how these two roles in design can function within a team, and how the pieces can affect your users.

The points from that  Web Designer Depot article tie excellently into the first point of another article I’ve stumbled across titled, 10 Rules of Good UI Design to Follow on Every Web Design Project by Tom Ewer. Ewer’s first rule – ‘Understand how UI plays into UX’ speaks directly to the inherent connection the two roles have, stating the expanse of the UX role and that UI designers need to rely on the information UX designers provide to create a great interface.

The next few points from that article seem like no brainers after going through the WDOC program at UF, but that does not mean these rules are less important. Knowing your audience, keeping things simple and consistent, the importance of visual hierarchy, have all been taught repeatedly in my time at UF. Also, Ewer says utilizing typography to boost that hierarchy, as well as properly using color and contrast can not only assist in establishing that hierarchy, but also create a relationship between the elements on your page. The next two rules, consider feedback messages and simplify your forms both deal with how your users can contact you as easily and effortlessly as possible – both very important regardless of your sites purpose.

Ewer’s last point is to bring all of those previous rules together. He suggests that while UI can seem a bit intimidating, it can create an excellent platform for a designer to showcase multiple facets of design, between all of the pieces involved.