Interface design

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Interface Design: communicating with machines

In the Red Dot category “Interface Design”, you can discover what is understood by the term Interface design and find many examples of good design in this field. The expression means creating the interface between people and machines, whereby the latter refers not only to computers, but also automatic machines and other devices. There are many concrete examples in our everyday life such as ticket vending, cash, or coffee machines as well as modern domestic ovens or washing machines, particularly when used in connection with a smartphone, a tablet, or other sorts of computer. Every program or app requires interface design so that we can use it intuitively without having to get to know the device and its possibilities in-depth. Particularly in the case of apps or websites, there is often a choice between various offers of which those with the best user guidance are generally the most popular. The clearer it is how to navigate through a site or application, the easier the orientation and the shorter the way to achieving what is wanted, the better is the underlying interface design. Therefore, the design of the user interface can have a major influence on the success of products. Xerox and Apple showed the way in the 1980s when they marketed the first computers with graphic user interfaces. This way of using a computer was so much easier than writing the correct orders in command lines. This quickly made these computers very popular not only with creatives, but also became an idea that took off worldwide.

The advantages of good graphic interfaces

You will find examples of superbly designed graphical user interfaces as well as apps and websites with convincing interface design in this Red Dot 21 section. Interface design and the so-called user interface (UI) are about making the interaction of people with machines as simple and efficient as possible, so that the users achieve what they want to do as directly as possible. This sounds obvious, but it conceals a laborious and very complex design process. The designer needs to define usage scenarios, in other words, anticipate what the users want to achieve, what steps are necessary and in what order, what options the users expect to have and what jumps or mistakes they could make. Answers and feedback need to be developed so for all this so that users feel they are being helped and are safely led through the process. The overriding priority in the design of graphic interfaces is to make it as easy for as possible for the user. This is done using clear icons, that is to say pictograms, prioritisation of the options, logical positioning of the control elements and by breaking the process down into the smallest possible steps, for example when searching for user data. In the end, the user experience should be such that handling seems intuitive and should be almost automatic – and naturally meet aesthetic expectations. The outstanding examples of user experience design we present are classified in two categories: graphic interfaces and websites. By clicking on an image, you can get more information about the work and the designer responsible for it. Have fun foraging!