Modern software users anticipate style as well as essence; a call that has compelled developers to embrace best user interface engineering techniques. Users are fond of programs that are intuitive and engaging. However, designing an engaging graphical user interface (GUI) has proved to be a real challenge for most software developers. When designing software, software developers are expected to come up with something that is not only complex in display, but one that looks professional, is easy to interpret and provides information in an intuitive format. User Interface Engineering/Design best practices are meant to provide practical techniques aimed at maximising the professionalism and usability of an engineer’s Lab VIEW front panels. In this article, we will be discussing in details what it takes to develop a User Interface that is rather appealing at the same time intuitive.
User Interface Engineering- Best Practices
1. Highlight Important Changes
It goes without saying that it is critical that your system’s visibility be given first priority. Your users must notice everything that is going on behind the scenes. Whenever they actuate any action, they should see exactly what they intended/expected to see. One great way to achieve this is through the use of friendly colours, colours that are attractive to their eyes. In addition, you can achieve this by using both text and pictures. However, be advised not to overdo it. Any adjustment made should be followed by verification not as a developer but as a viewer. Assume the position of a viewer and judge whether it has worked or not.
2. Enable Keyboard Shortcuts in your application
It good to in compliant with the current trends, technology being dynamic as it is keeps tossing us with technologies we never even imagined would be possible. Nowadays, there are smart phones, tablets, notepads and the traditional desktop computers all which operate differently but interestingly designed to serve the same purpose. When designing a software or even a website, you should put in mind all these factors, enabling keyboard shortcuts makes it easy for people who are using gadgets that are touch sensitive easier to use. Think of functions such as navigation. It will be more expedient to use keyboard scroll keys in laptops than using the touch pad.
3. Advertise features of the application
Advertising the features of your application makes it easier for users to learn about them. Consider using sidebars for this purpose. When the features of your application become known to your users, they will have no choice but to try them. In addition, the mere thought of finding out exactly what the feature does in itself is literally intuitive. However, when designing an application, you should remember that people don’t learn instantaneously. To ease things for your users, use colours, words, images and texts which are easy to remember.
4. Use Colour-coded lists to enhance efficiency
The essence of highlighting items in different colours is solely to make them distinguishable. When selecting colours, don’t make them random; abide by a certain pattern that will make it easier for your users to remember. User interface engineering dictates that, whatever you do should exclusively be done for the good of your users.
5. Offer Personalization Options- user insights
We started off by saying that best user interface engineering practices are meant to enfeeble designers develop programs and software that are engaging and easy to interpret. Giving your users a chance to customize your application to look the way they want is a complete show of care. Your users will be more to use your application whether it’s a website, an app or software simply because you provided them with options to customize it the way they please. In addition, it will make them feel more at home. Provide them with options to choose the theme, colours fond sizes, background wallpapers and such.
6. Improve users’ perception by displaying help messages that are attractive to the eyes
Undoubtedly, every application is different and unique in its own way of how it handles things. If you decide to use elements that are somewhat not apparent, then be sure to provide a brief help message illustrating precisely what the element does to get your users started. When creating these messages, keep in mind that you are communicating with people who are not yet sure of what they are doing. Therefore, capture their attention by using attractive and colourful sticky message beside the element you are trying to describe.
7. Display error/feedback messages in the most kind and cunning way
User interface engineering conclusively is all about being cunning. You make it your business to know what your users care most about and then give it to them. Feedback messages are messages that pop up to either warn or confirm that a process has been completed successfully. Be careful when coming up with these messages, use words that are acceptable to the entire society and ones that don’t seem to humiliate. The best way to do this is to be polite as possible. Use words like; I’m sorry, congratulation, and the like.
8. Use tabbed navigation to enhance the entire process
If you are designing a web application, then you should consider adopting the illustrious tabbed navigation approach for your main navigation menu. Tabbed navigation makes everything to appear as if it is a tab on its own on a file folder. Conveniently, most people find tabbed navigation impeccably appealing. In addition, it makes usability of the application interesting, and captivating at the same time.
9. Darken background beneath modal window
I assume that you have all had a chance to see this when in operation. Mostly, modal window pop up on top of the main current page with information intended to interact with the user; information such as a request to subscribe to newsletter, a request to give your feedback and such. When designing modal window, make the bright and visible, and capture the users’ attention by blackening the main window under the modal window. Alternatively, you can also use shadows instead of darkening the window.
10. Make the sign-up form short and clear as possible
Sign-up forms should be taken seriously as they are potentially the biggest barriers between you and your potential customers. Using long sign-up forms will kill the motivation in your customer before they even become a member. Get rid of the optional elements from the sign-up form and let the customers update them later when they are already you members. In addition, use words that are easy to understand. Make everything short and clear.
You should try to focus on making the interface easily accessible without getting in the way of your users with annoying advertisements and irrelevant messages. One surest way to implement best user interface engineering practices is to design it from the user’s perspective and not as an engineer. The user interface engineering practices have been proven to work magic for both the clients and the application owners.
You might be interested in reading graphical user interface design examples page for more information.