What is UI and what do UI designers do?

User interface (UI) is the point of interaction and communication between human and a computer. Yasir Alvi outlines the topic here.

Before proceeding with the rest of this article, there has been misconception between UI and user experience (UX), and the role they play.  It is important to understand that UI  and UX are different, though both elements brings aesthetics to a product, and can be designed by a single profession designer who is knowledgeable on their role in digital product development process.

UX is the interaction between the user and the product or services provided by a company either in an electronic device or a webpage. It depicts the enjoy-ability and feeling a user gets from assessing a company’s product or services.

While the UI is point of interaction between the user and an electronic device or product, just like the apple products that has an enhanced touchscreen capability. It gives you a unique and seamless ways to use your digital devices. Just like when you use your smartphone or touchpad to select a Rolex wrist watch from a sales webpage.

What does a UI designer do?

UI designers are solely responsible in ensuring that the application interface of electric devices or webpages are visually stimulating and attractive while maintaining the purpose of the device or webpage. UI designers focus on providing a seamless accessibility and inclusion by designing elements in successions such as icons, scrollbars, buttons, typefaces, colour schemes, imagery spacing and then testing their designs through prototyping.

For professionalism, UI designers consider the size and scalability of various UI elements to ascertain their adequacy within their designed points. They also, need to understand how humans visualise things, the effect of adaptability and communication, and how shapes help in enhancing interaction.

The next question is, what is UI design? Below is a brief description of what UI design is all about:

  • UI is a complete digital practice. It encompasses all the interactive elements of a product interface and its visual such as Image spacing, type-spacing, icons and buttons, colour schemes.
  • The focus of UI design is to turn a business goal into visual forms that will guide the user through the product’s interface of the business. Hence, it’s all about creating an intuitive experience that gives the user comfort.
  • A good UI design transfers the brand’s visual assets and reputation to a product’s interface, by ensuring that the design is consistent and coherent.

How to be a professional UI designer

To be a professional UI designer, you should adopt these four principles;

  1. Minimum cognitive load:

A UI designer needs to understand that most users are not patient and do not want something that will cause mental stress. So cognitive loads refer to the amount of mental processing power needed by a user to access a product. A good UI design needs to avoid unnecessary images, outdated links, and irrelevant texts.

  1. Consistency:

For an interface to be recognisable and predictable, especially to new users, consistency in UI design is crucial. It allows the user to transfer existing knowledge to new tasks and get acquainted to new aspects fast.

  1. Clarity:

Clarity is an important aspect of UI design. It enables the users to understand what they’re interacting with through the interface. It further glues to user to the device to continue interacting with the interface.

  1. Keep the user in control:

Keep users in control through quality imaging, by describing causation, and by giving insight into what to expect at every time.  Humans are programmed to feel in control of themselves and their environment.

Some tools a good UI designer should know

  • Adobe XD
  • InVision Studio
  • Sketch
  • Figma
  • Axure RP