UI, or short for User Interface, sounds like something from a web jargon techie dictionary, and yes it is. But little do we realise that we are all living in our own UIs, creating our own UIs as well as experiencing other people’s UIs daily!
Just imagine you coming home. You’d have a specific door design or colour as well as where you’d place your keys after you’ve entered. Then there’s that cute looking doormat to greet you and a mirror by the door to check your hair or make up on your way out. Then there’s the place to kick off your shoes and slip into your soft bunny slippers before you head to the kitchen to drop off your baggage or groceries for a cup of nice cold water. Then off you go to the living room where your comfy sofa and hand-picked window shades greet you home. And as you slouch onto the sofa…”where’s the remote control?!”
Sounds familiar? Well all that we just briefly fantasized over was everything to do of UI in our lives. How we’d like everything the way we like it and feel it. Not talking about being an OCD (over-compulsive-disorder) person, but the placement of things, layout, colour, interactivity all plays a part in our lifestyle. And this is how web designers ‘humanize’ web pages using UI to make them pleasing for our eyes and cognitive experiences. Here’s my brief take about UI in our websites as reflected in our lifestyles:
Function: Work it baby!
We all place things specifically for a purpose or function. From the key holder to the side table, we all have a function for those items in mind, but yet, we humans get lazy or have other ideas about them differently. Likewise for our websites, each button or interaction should have a function and the website itself should be intuitive enough for all kinds of users’ UI wants and needs. Whether it is viewing from a small smartphone screen to a wide screen entertainment smart device, websites should have interactive elements in its UI designs to cater to all such users for maximum impression.
Discoverability: To answer “where’s that remote control!”
Websites should have contents that have high discoverability, clean forms and layouts, and less clutter. By using clearly marked labels for functional tools that users frequently look for as well as clean fonts, colour contrasts, and, alignments, visitors to your webpage will have ease and fun discovering and exploring the contents in your home-page. Imagine if your house was cluttered with loads of stuff, finding the keys would be more than a needle in a haystack!
Vector for Victors: Shapes of things to come.
We humans have a basic intuition in recognising shapes of things to represent symbols of identifiers before colours or words. Hence creating unique vector art symbols or icons to represent functions or tools help create an interesting and intuitive appeal for the eyes of visitors. Rather than reading lengthy phrases to identify a function, labels with icons can picturesquely symbolise the control users would look for when browsing your products or services. It also allows higher discoverability and recognition when users can easily identify with the meaning of those graphical user interfaces (GUI), the same way logos work for a business branding. Don’t we all like to see simplified vector icons to help us distinguish the on-off button on our remote and blender?
As you and I become more exposed to graphical, visual and interactive contents, it directly and indirectly affects our lifestyle. Such is the power and change of UI that influences the way we see things and feel things everyday in the form of fluidity, appeal and functionality. That is why a powerful UI on a website can really make a difference. And it may want to make you change your doormat again.
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Categories: Digital Media