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Improving User Interface Design

At Caviar Business Solutions, our designers have the capability to step in at any stage of an application's user interface design and deliver Best in Class deliverables. Whether it's working closely with our clients to design everything from the user interface and interaction design of their application, to merely wrapping an entirely new visual design over an existing architecture, we've got it covered. We deliver an undeniable edge over rival offerings - our goal is to out-do both the competition and ourselves every time.

Whatever your platform - desktop, mobile - iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7, BlackBerry etc., television, embedded device - outfit your application with the best UI imaginable.

A major part of website designing consists of creating an attractive and functional user interface design. Little effort was given on interface designing as it mainly consisted of character based, conventional, alpha-numeric screen terminals attached to a keyboard. But now, with enhanced technology, the focus has shifted to increasing the usability quotient of interfaces.

Tips and techniques that come in handy for user interface designing:

  • Improvement in Usability Quotient through Usability Inspection-  Usability inspection came into practice, focusing on techniques to evaluate interface usability issues. These techniques can be employed early in the user interface development life cycle to sort out usability problems early. Heuristic evaluation enables assessment if the dialogue factor is in sync with usability principles. Heuristic estimation compares two or more interface designs on quantitative terms. The user's technique of task accomplishment at the interface is simulated and evaluated through a cognitive walk-through technique. The feature inspection technique evaluates the feature list and difficult steps that are unnatural. The formal usability inspection allows individual and group inspection through definite roles involving elements of heuristic evaluation and cognitive walk-through.
  • Padded Links-  Usability inspection focus should be on improving the usability. Links on the page are the area in which a user clicks if they want to go to a different destination for additional content requirements. Link size and space is restricted to the height and width of the clickable text. This clickable space can be increased for greater usability through padding or changing the link to block element. A larger size of the clickable area highlighted with a color makes identification easier. Padding should be done to make the link rise up.
  • Typesetting UI components-  Correctly typesetting the UI elements is essential as users make use of these buttons on a regular basis. They require them for reading labels on buttons, tabs, and menu bars continuously as they browse a web page. These UI elements are always in focus. Well-polished UI elements give a pleasing user experience by appearing pleasing to the eye.
  • Ease of Use by Systematizing- Using contrast and a system of highlights can help in drawing attention to the most important areas of the page. For example, black text can be used to focus on chosen features, while using grey text implies that users can roll over it to get additional information. The color contrast used should be strictly adhered to throughout the website so that information remains consistent across the pages. This keeps details for every product or service to a specific side of the page (left/right). Systematizing the design improves ease of use.
  • Visual Appeal- Color is an important tool to gain attention and improve visual appeal. A dark shade against a light background would immediately attract user attention. Elements that require immediate attention (donation, important news, price fall, etc.) can be highlighted in the brightest of colors. Warmer color shades such as red and orange are naturally bright. Their visual appeal can be further enhanced by setting them against colder color tones such as blue and green. Red against black, orange against blue, and pink against blue are contrasting color options
  • UI Element Separation- Every UI element should be adequately separated by white spaces so that the readability of text is improved. If elements appear too close to each other distinction is not established. Website designers should focus from a distance to ensure element blocks are separated by white spaces and are not merging into each other.  Adjustment of spaces between letters in a word can be done through "tracking"; which can be done using CSS using the "letter spacing property". Effective "tracking" improves the aesthetic appeal of headlines making it appear more original.
  • Iconography Adds Interest- To maintain interest, the navigation process should be consistent for the users so that they don't get lost and feel irritated searching for their desired content. Navigation should be kept at the top and search bar on the left side. Social plug-ins should be easily located with distinct and clear clickable areas. Iconography and lovely typography can add to the interest factor. Icons provide depth and interest to a particular page by adding dynamicism. They can be used in navigation and body content. Combining interrelated icons add more fascination to the page by breaking the block of text, directing eye movements, and attracting the reader to continue reading the content.

It is the web designer's role to create the correct balance between various techniques and find out what best suits a particular website. Apart from these techniques, the major focus should be on page simplicity and consistency. The details should be in a simple format with generous spacing and clearly divided sections with a contrasting background and text colors. Simplicity is the key to a great user interface. No matter what style a website uses, simplicity paves the way for setting a good tone and improves user experience.

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