A user interface is the part of the system with which users interact. It includes screen displays, reports, forms, any other mechanism as the human-machine boundary. These must all be designed and created, and due care should be exercised in their creation.
This assignment is to help students to apply and analyze the principles for user interface design we explore in Chapter 9 of the assigned text to existing programs and websites. This includes considerations for usability, layout, content awareness, aesthetics, usage level, consistency, and minimization of user effort.
Estimated time to complete is 45-120 minutes. As this is a text-based submission on Canvas it may be beneficial to write your assignment in a word processor and then copy/paste into the submission field. This way if the Canvas session times out you don’t lose your work.
Your assignment is to select one website (desktop view), one desktop application, and one mobile application (on your cell phone or tablet), and answer the below questions. This is to be captured in a text submission and entered in the assignment. Address each item in a numerical/listed fashion following the format suggestion. Answers are expected to range from 3-4 sentences, but further elaboration is permissible and encouraged.
You should use the a) b) c) format for clarity and to speak to each specific system.
Before we get started:a) What website did you choose, and what is its “genre”b) What application did you choose and what is its “genre”c) What mobile application did you choose and what is its “genre”
[ Genre implies category or theme, such as social media, business productivity, entertainment, etc.]
1) Layout – In 1-2 paragraphs, speak to the similarities, and differences (if any) in the layout of the three interfaces using topics discussed in Chapter 9 of the assigned text. Consider how the purpose and function of the application/system may influence the design/layout. One may find it useful to contrast the purpose of each application/website, with the others, and to see how it influenced the design/layout.
2) Content Awareness – Does each system convey to the user where they are in the system, and what information is being displayed in that location with minimal, if any, effort? If yes, explain why/how; If not, explain why/how.
3) Aesthetics – Are the interfaces functional and inviting through the careful use of colors, white space, colors, and fonts? If yes, describe some elements you noticed; if no, describe the elements contrary to aesthetic goals. Positive elements may include space between buttons, clear colors/contrast, etc. Negative elements may be information dense or heavy, poor color schemes, “busy” patterns, etc.
4) Consistency – Consistency in UI design enables users to predict what will happen before they perform a function/action by leveraging existing knowledge, and it helps promote ease of use and ease of learning. For each system how did it match up against other systems you’re familiar with in that genre, or other programs in its ‘suite’? Was it similar or different? Elaborate in either case.
5) Minimize User Effort – Is the interface simple to use, or is it cumbersome and requires conscious effort to interact with and use? In either case, choose an element as to why and explain (clearly labeled? follow ‘normal’ expectations? fields and buttons are labelled? etc.)