Connecting People and Products – The User Interface Part II : Components of a UI

14 Mar





In the previous part, we were pondering if User Interface Design is Art or Engineering and concluded that , it is both.

Part II : Components of an UI


Crux of it…

Components and Modules that form part of the UI


Now that I felt strongly that, to make an optimal UI design one needs to be an engineer, no doubt, but also have the flair to be an artist, I proceeded to direct my thoughts towards the essential components that make an UI.


What are the essential functions of an UI?


TO SEE – It helps us to see what is going on.


TO HEAR – Event notifications and alarms.


TO MANIPULATE – It allows us to control itself as well as the process in question.


Components useful TO make us SEE are


  • Displays such as Seven Segment LED , Alpha-numeric LED, Dot Matrix LED, Bargraph LED, Character and Graphic LCD , etc.

Seven Segment



Dot Matrix Display



  • Modules like Character LCD Module and Graphic LCD Module





  • LED Indicators


Components that help us TO HEAR


  • Buzzers, Speakers,etc


Components aiding us TO MANIPULATE a process are


  • Membrane Keypads
  • Rotary Switch encoders
  • Rotary Encoder Switch
  • Touch Screen
  • Potentiometers



These UI Components are used in every project from a simple TV remote to an advanced medical equipment such as MRI.


Without these components, a product or technology , even if state-of-the-art, is of no use to a common man.


UI design has grown leaps and bounds from simple potentiometers to adjustable potentiometer images on touch-screens.


This made me wonder, how come UI has undergone so much of a transformation? Is it due to the customer’s demands?


How does a customer / user decide what kind of a UI suits her application? In essence, how does a user evaluate a UI and decide whether it is satisfactory or not?


It appeared to me for certain that any typical user would look for the following minimum benefits.

  • Ease of learning – in fact , no need for learning, just plug and play.
  • Efficiency of Use – Navigation at its best.
  • Suitability for the application intended – Can’t use a touch screen to turn on a hand-dryer.
  • Optimum information – Not a detail more and not a detail less


Coming Up…

Part III : Screen Real Estate – Information Display

Thoughts on what would be the best way of displaying numbers, alphabets and other information..

DesignSpark – 22/04/11


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