The way you interact with your remote control of your TV ld be considered interface design. Microsoft spent over 100 million dollars on the new design of their controller. When you look at the difference between the old and new, there isn’t too much different about either design, but the user experience has changed to make it an even better controller. The sticks have a little grip ring around them, the bumpers are easier to access with minimal effort and the controller is a little more balanced. 100 million bucks.
Before we get into the everything of interface design, I must educate you (myself) with some terms.
Skueomorphism – the design mimics real world applications
Affordances – relation between an environment and / or object and an organism that allows the organism to perform
UI – User Interface – what the user uses to explore the app / website
UX – User Experience – what the user feels when they interact with the website / app, what they go through while navigating your site / app
These definitions above are not set in stone, they are written in a way that is easiest for me to understand. Interface design is not just the look of the application, but the functionality and use of it.
Phones are a great example of this and they are constantly changing and evolving. We talked about the Windows phone recently, and while I do agree that the design is very eye catching and interesting, I personally would not like using it. I am a user of the Note series that Samsung has put out and I did have to adjust to a larger screen size, but that was a small bridge to cross and it has become popular enough for Apple to hop on the “phablet” phone train. The size of the phones are almost equal and proves that yes, Samsung had beaten Apple to the punch on this one. For one handed use, there are settings for the Samsung that enables it, but when you get a phone this size, you want to use it full screen.
Tonymyteacher also brought in guest speaker, Jesse Hampton, a senior at the Art Institute. He read the beginning of his thesis to Tom and I last week and it seemed pretty straight to the point. I was really not too sure what UI and UX was to be honest, but once he started talking about the work he was doing with a woman trying to redesign her website, it all came together. He really had to put in a lot of legwork to get the UX of the site down. Testing the site directly and indirectly with people to see what they thought about using the website gave him invaluable feedback he used to make the website easy to use for the first visit, which accomplishes a few very important things. It doesn’t discourage users and make it inviting for them to come back, it makes it easy for current users to show new users, growing the use of the site and finally presents a professional site that is appealing to the target audience. It seems like an overwhelming task to take one, but it helps you stand out from the growing populous of graphic designers.