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

14 Mar

 

 

 

Recap….

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

 

GLCD

 

 

  • 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

Etc.

 

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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