In Part 1 of this series, we explored the history of user interface design, from MS-DOS and Windows 1 through to iOS and Material Design.
In this second installment, we take a look at what UI design means in today’s market, and examine what separates good and bad interfaces. We also discuss why looks aren’t everything. Finally, we sneak a peek at some of the new patterns emerging in UI design – including Google’s “Fuchsia” and Microsoft’s “Fluent Design”, and point you to a bunch of great resources to help you get started in UI Design.
4. What does UI design mean today?
Today’s UI designers are usually already designing interfaces for apps within an operating system. Many of the parameters of a user interface are therefore outside of the designer’s control. For example, if a UI designer is working on an Android app, they have no say over the screen size and resolution of the user’s device; of how the user has set up their notifications; or of whether they’ve installed another app to reprofile the color on the device’s display.
UI designers who are working on apps are, instead, usually trying to work creatively within the constraints of a given device and its OS. What’s more, their job is often to comply or cohere with the guidelines of the OS developer (Google for Android, Apple for iOS). Apple publishes list of UI dos and don’ts for developers, as well as a detailed set of Human Interface Guidelines, and Google has a comprehensive visual and UI style guide called Material Design. Check out Google’s explainer video here: