What is User Interface Design?

In the following article, I am going to try and elucidate User Interface (UI) Design for you, readers. It’s essential, I think, to begin by describing what UI Design and why it’s important before we get into the nitty-gritty of it.

 Just off the bat, it’s important to remember that the importance of UI design directly reflects upon the value of the User Experience (UX). 

Therefore, it’s crucial to consider, in all the following points, how to accommodate UX in UI, and how UI embellishments will make the UX better or worse.

So, what is User Interface Design?

User Interface design is the process in which we create applications and interfaces to facilitate a user’s interaction with the product. A good UI can save people time and prevent them from having to dig around in menus. It saves them from having to type in long lists of numbers.

 User Interface design helps them remember what they might want to do next. A bad UI can slow down productivity and add confusion, making people frustrated when the users don’t know how to accomplish what they want to do.

 And of course, with the modern emphasis placed on customer satisfaction, a good UI design team places themselves in the shoes of customers, and better, at more final stages, they will run beta testing with real potential users.

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And that’s why it’s so important; a robust UI is critical to the success of any digital service or product. It communicates what the product does and how to use it – a strong UI well conveys how to use itself

Most products simply need a strong UI to be successful. It’s often not optional if continued success, through the engagement and maintenance of happy customers, is desired.

 That’s why some of the largest companies in the world have rich UI departments and have gone to great lengths to hire the best people in those fields.

user interface, What is User Interface Design?, Peterman Design Firm

Just as good as the design of a laptop or mobile phone is the ease in which it works, a bad app design can make the experience of using it annoying, long-winded and confusing. 

It’s not enough for a UI to just look good and be useful. It must perform well and be sturdy, too. The completion of a UI design project may seem like a cause for celebration. I’s worth being pleased with what you have done so far, it’s not the end of the road. 

Continual maintenance, and tweaking alterations based on customer feedback are needed to ensure that the website, application, or other interface stays relevant and popular over the passage of time.

How much does UI design typically cost?

user interface, What is User Interface Design?, Peterman Design Firm

The cost of User Interface design depends on many factors. Some design tasks include the composition of a lot of design elements and you need to get everything exactly right. 

But other parts of the process, and other projects, are more straight forward and you may only require a small team to complete the task. 

Whatever the requirements of the UI, the most taking cost is time; time to develop the necessary expertise, and time to implement all of that into creation. 

That is why it’s often best to outsource this to companies. You can find agencies and team on websites such as Design Directory

You’ll want to find one whose strategies include the creation of strong visual impact, the conscious construction of design for global appeal, and the balancing of creative freedom with decided constraints.

Because the design of UI is so varied in requirements from one customer to the next, most companies do not charge a flat rate for UI design, but rather produce a quote for you on your describing to them your desires. You can do that with us here.

Now, what is the process of UI design?

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The process of designing User Interfaces can be broken down into three separate phases: Idea, Prototyping, and Production. We will look into each of these further.

user interface, What is User Interface Design?, Peterman Design Firm

Idea

user interface, What is User Interface Design?, Peterman Design Firm

If you have a good idea for a new UI and are just about ready to begin the design process, it’s always best to start by generating a few mockups. 

Often this can be done by using a mockup generator. You will be presented with a suite of icons and other design elements that you can combine to create a functional UI. 

This can be the place to play with various ways of presenting data to the user and discussing the idea with your team. Once you feel like you’ve got something you’re happy with, you can head on to the next stage.

prototyping

Once you have identified a good idea, it’s time to bring it into reality. 

You can develop the application from scratch using any software you choose. One of the best platforms for that is Sketch, which has a huge range of resources available for free. 

Once you have finalized your design, you can then take your code to the next level.

user interface, What is User Interface Design?, Peterman Design Firm

Prototyping is where you see the basics of an app or interface appear in real-time before you. It’s a great way of finding clear problems in a potential application that will need solving before you actually build it.

 If you reach out to leads with this for beta testing, it’s also a great way of receiving any feedback from your customers or clients to work on, or if you are in-house, you can get people to test it. 

You can use real data and a simple WordPress-like website to convey your concept, and then once people try it, they will tell you whether it’s really something that people would like.

production

user interface, What is User Interface Design?, Peterman Design Firm

Finally, you can bring the finished UI into reality. If you have a design team working on it with you, this can be fairly straightforward. 

But, if you’re just starting in the business world, it is much more likely that you will be left with a lot of work to do. You could start by coding it into the codebase and defining any contracts that need to be signed for the work. 

Once all that’s finished, it’s time to turn your ideas into reality. If, however, you don’t want a mountain to climb whilst your competitors climb molehills. 

You always have the option of hiring a great team to work on it with you. Outsourcing to professional designers who are experienced in the field.

 If you are not in a position where directly hiring everyone needed to accomplish your project, hiring outside firms is the smart decision.

 Large companies like Apple and Google, who can build products with massive support teams in-house, often still hire external teams and agencies to support their in-house efforts.

So, how do you identify a good User Interface design company?

Well, first things first, look at their own website. As an example, we’ve put a lot of time and effort into our own website. 

If you have a terrible experience with their website, you may want to look elsewhere. As a caveat to that, there is often the case of the “cobblers children have no shoes.”

 When you are busy making client projects happen, sometimes you don’t get to your own website as much as you’d like. 

Website and first impression aside, it’s wise to make confirmatory steps in direct discussion with these companies, too. 

So, go ahead and start asking for quotes. Those companies who offer quotes, rather than simple fixed price only, often indicate that they understand the complexity of projects involving good user interface and will be working to make something truly custom and your own, rather than just a one-size-fits-all approach.

user interface, What is User Interface Design?, Peterman Design Firm

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How is UI design relevant to branding?

user interface, What is User Interface Design?, Peterman Design Firm

One of the things that makes good UI design so unique is that it enables a company to separate their product from competitors. 

From its very roots, UI design allows a company to not only brand themselves, but to carve a distinct identity for their brand. 

This inextricably makes your UI part of your brand, so it definitely requires your attention and action. Whether it be through a logo, a website, or just some animations that appear across the landing page, UI and the resultant UX is often the way that a company separates itself from their competitors. 

And with the current trends of online communication, this is something that companies would be wise to be concerned with in this evolving digital age.

 

I hope that this article has made clearer the concept of UI design and has highlighted its importance. If you have a project that needs UI design, ask yourself this question: given how important UI is, and given my current resources, would it be best for me to work on it myself, with my in-house team, or to outsource it to professionals, like the Peterman Design Firm?

Your Next Steps

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