Designing Interfaces – AS Computing Revision (F452)

Interface Design Questions: What To Include…

English: Screen Shot from Scratch

English: Screen Shot from Scratch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Everything requested in the question!
  • You should pretty much always have title (some underlined text at the top of the screen / box / page will do, even if it seems pointless)
  • Subtitles are often helpful
  • It’s also important to have a clear button or a reset button
  • An exit button is usually necessary
  • At least one label explaining to the user what each field requires
  • A variety of input methods, where appropriate, such as drop downs, radio buttons, sliders, text fields and buttons
  • If you’re stuck for things to fill the space (and it’s very important to fill the whole space), you could add a help button and loads of explanatory labels
  • You should use the space outside the provided area to annotate your design – draw lines to each item and add some text to make it clear exactly what each thing you’ve drawn is / does

Things To Consider

  • What hardware will the interface be used on? That’ll have a big influence on its design
  • If you’re asked to design an interface for a touchscreen, remember that buttons need to be big enough to press, as the user won’t have a precise pointer (just a finger)
  • It wouldn’t hurt to draw attention to how suitable your interface is to the hardware in the annotations
  • That’s not the only important factor, though…
  • Who will be using the interface? Do they have any special requirements?
  • What circumstances will the interface be used in? (In a noisy place, a flashing light would be easier to notice than an alarm sound, for example)
  • How experienced with computers is the user? Do you need to restrict them to only a few options, to make it easier for them?
  • What information needs to be conveyed?
  • What output formats would be best suited to the information?
  • How can information overload be prevented?

Why Good Interface Design is Important

  • Interfaces often need to be easy for inexperienced users
  • If interfaces are consistent, people will become familiar with them
  • Interfaces need to do what the user expects when they perform an action
  • Good interfaces make things clear and obvious
  • Users will make more mistakes if an interface is bad
  • It’s generally not considered good to have to learn lots of commands in order to be able to use the interface
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About Matt

I like writing, filmmaking, programming and gaming, and prefer creating media to consuming it. On the topic of consumption, I'm also a big fan of eating.
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