Must-Know Principles for User Interface Design
User interface design (UI design) is the design of user interfaces for machines and computers, including electronic devices and appliances. It encompasses issues such as usability, functionality and overall user experience.
As designers and manufacturers of membrane keyboards and graphic overlays, UI design is extremely important to us. Any electronic device or machine which requires a membrane keypad is operated with that keypad, so its design has to be user-centred and must meet user needs. If the membrane keypad doesn’t give a positive user experience, it can affect the opinion of the appliance as a whole.
There are a lot of design principles for UI design, but many of them apply to digital design such as websites, apps or software. Here are the fundamentals of UI design which we often use in the design of graphic overlays and membrane keypads.
It’s essential that any interface is clear and easy to understand. Keep it simple with a minimalist design and an understated display. Only include information which is absolutely necessary. Efficiency and functionality will be increased with the reduction of clutter and unnecessary buttons or tasks.
Colour and texture
It is important with any interface to strategically use texture and colour to enhance the design. Each membrane keypad is individually designed and can include a range of colours to emphasise functions or branding. The texture is also a vital feature and helps users feel the different touch pads – different coatings can be chosen, in addition to a range of embossing features. Finally LED backlighting can also be utilised to improve the usability and point users in the right direction.
Know the user
Everyone has different preferences, so if you can understand the type of user which will be using the appliance, you can design it with their needs in mind. For example, is the interface for a certain industry or age group? Will it have to endure tough environments, will the users have specific training to use the device? The more you know about a product’s users, the more you can adapt the design in terms of their skills and preferences.
While UI design is generally focused on usability, it’s important to also consider the practicality of the design. Membrane keypads are typically used in industrial sectors and locations which are harsh or extreme, so this needs to be reflected in the design. Manufacturers can use chemical resistant materials, UV resistant materials and anti-microbial materials to make sure they are suitable for use.
Design is just as important as production – and the UI design principles above make sure all of our graphic overlays are of high quality and offer the best possible user experience.
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