I don’t write these often enough, so I’m hoping to change that starting right now. Sometimes, the best way to convey what’s working or not working in any given field is to actually cite some examples, either comparatively, or just in straight up review. UX is one of the industry’s best served by this, so some graphical user interface examples should shed some light on what works best at the current time.
Now, that’s a broad area to draw from, as graphical user interface examples can come from just about any digital medium, from games, to PC to web and mobile, with a hundred devices along the way. To keep this a little less complicated, I am choosing one from each of the three main platforms, excluding games, to discuss. My first example will be very cross-platform, and that’s a general web interface.
#1 – Tumblr
Tumblr sounds like an odd thing to pick as a great example of web or SaaS user interface design, considering its fairly simple purpose, but that’s just it. In something with the simplest purpose, we can see the purest success or failure of an interface. The more complex an interface becomes, the harder it is to not mistake complexity for convolution. Tumblr is a dynamic informal blog system which lets users post pictures, text, embedded video and also hold conversations through submission comments. It uses a very simple system with a dashboard, a search, and simple feed-based home pages, with infinite scrolling. Since the individual items don’t need additional navigation, this scrolling lets casual, lengthy feed browsing go smoothly on all devices. Tumblr is an example of how simplicity is the key to multi-platform design in SaaS or web interfaces.
#2 – Chrome
We all love Chrome, don’t we? It’s cross-platform, light weight, easy to use, and supports all kinds of extensions, fail to mention its security against exploits and malware scripts. Chrome is quickly becoming the browser to use. But, it’s also a shining example of simple, effective UI. Chrome’s design, with its tabs being individual, atomic windows is brilliant, and was previously unheard of. It eliminates the top bar of a standard window in the process, meaning less real estate is occupied by pointless pieces of GUI. On top of this, it employs the bare minimum of tool bars and other things, meaning that the browser’s main surface – the web view – is the primary space used, with little to nothing crowding it. When designing UI for local machines, this is an important thing to keep in mind – crowding the GUI to the point that the main focal area is reduced from it is actually a bad idea, especially for something cross-platform. Chrome exemplifies sparse but attractive, practical GUI.
#3 – Android OS
Yeah, for mobile, I’m citing an entire OS, given that most apps for it conform to a standard set of designs that reflect it anyhow. Of the three major systems out there, Windows 8 Phone, Android and iOS, Android is the only one that’s not horrendous. Android has a clean, tiled desktop with a task bar and an indexed window set allowing some level of multitasking. While the interface is simple and elegant, it allows significant customization, given the diversity of phone interfaces it powers. Compared to Apple’s over-stylized wall of icons, and Windows Phone’s ugly mess of asymmetric tiles, Android is a shining example of mobile interface actually done right.
These are just a couple general graphical user interface examples where it’s done right. It is such a sweeping thing, that it will take a lot of doing to properly exemplify all there is. I am willing to do this, if you, dear readers, crave it.
Read more GUI relaterd information on graphical user interface design examples page.