In this second part of this seven-part series, we look at the next steps that are taken, once an idea has been scoped and wireframed in the creation of a digital product or platform. During the next step of the project, we see the digital product evolve from a prototype to a graphically enhanced version of the product.
USER INTERFACE DESIGN
The natural progression in the evolution of the digital product, from the wireframing stage, is the User Interface (UI) design.
This step utilises the wireframes that were produced in the first phase as a structured layout for the various screens and interfaces.
We essentially design the User Interface (UI), screens and pages by:
- Inserting the client’s branding (logo and colour scheme).
- Applying images that are relevant to the client’s products, services and industry.
- Designing and applying visual high-end elements and visual features (such as navigation, buttons, etc).
- Structuring the layout of content in a visually appealing, yet easy to read format
- Designing easy to use tools for interacting with the product such as sliders, dropdown menus, accordions, etc.
- Creating visual reporting tools and dashboards to represent data in an easy to understand yet sophisticated format.
- Strategically using colour and texture, which can be used to direct attention toward or redirect attention away from page/screen elements.
- Use typography to create hierarchy and clarity.
- Anticipating what the user will do next and guide the user through various user journeys, which reduces frustration and creates an enjoyable user experience.
The User Interface (UI) design process not only encompasses the designing of interfaces and screens for the public-facing side of the product but also for each different user type (if applicable to the application). Considering that each user type may have distinct functionality and information available to these specific users, will result in specific designs and interfaces being created dependent on the user type’s functionality available to them and the types of information that they are able to access.
A highly important factor which is applicable to the entire User Interface process is the ease with which users interact with these interfaces/screens/tools. Ensuring that users are able to easily understand what is required of them and to allow them to interact quickly relates to the User Experience (UX) of the product.
A vast amount of attention is spent on the UX throughout the design phase to ensure that the tools/product not only look aesthetically pleasing but that it is extremely simple and straightforward to use, with the user being guided at each step of the engagement.
Designs are generally produced for desktop devices and mobile devices, to visually represent how the interfaces will be represented in these different sized screens/interfaces.
HOW WE PRESENT AND FINALISE THE DESIGNS
Once we have crafted the designs of the various interfaces and screens, we present these to the client face to face. We take the client through each page/screen and explain the reasoning for certain design choices.
At the same time, we are able to answer any questions the client may have and discuss possible changes and feedback.
Feedback is carefully considered and necessary changes are made where applicable, which is then presented to the client for further input and sign off. This is a cyclical process which is performed until all screens are verified and signed off. Thus concluding the UI design process in the evolution of a bespoke digital product, platform or system.
Next phase: UI / front end development.