User interface development entails the production of information and computer systems for effective use by the targeted users (Benyon, Green, & Bental, 2012). The process of developing a website requires input from users and this raises the need to have in place some guidelines on the users and interface relations. The components of the interface include hardware and software which the user interacts with to form an interactive system (Akiki & Bandara, 2015). This paper, therefore, focuses on the methods that a web designer may make use of in identifying users, the needs of the potential users, gather the users input, and the techniques that a designer may use to design the interface based on the information gathered (Akiki & Bandara, 2015). This will allow the system developers to take into account user needs from the beginning of their work (Akiki & Bandara, 2015).
There are various methods that can be used to elicit and reach agreement upon user-interface requirements. The methods chosen may differ across organizations and industries based on their preferences, as long as the developed interface meets the specified interface requirements (Benyon, Green, & Bental, 2012). The user community as well as the tasks those users will performed are clearly outlined. A huge part of the development as well as management of system requirements is the specification of the requirements of the user-interface of the system. As such, it is paramount that the system requirements be stated in the simplest and clearest terms. Additionally, those concerned have to come to an agreement on the stated requirements. Based on these factors, the kind of users of the site can be determined.
Interface developers should focus on user needs because user experience is subjective and so is the interface design (Gube, 2010). There is, therefore, no best design or usability experience that can be referred to. When the website design is centered on the user, factors based on the designer’s personal taste, implementers’ convenience or sudden changes of the planner’s original design should not be considered. Instead, the focus should be exclusively for service to the audience for which the website is designed. The very first priority is to provide a connection between the user and the underlying systems (Benyon, Green, & Bental, 2012). The web designer should focus on the user needs using the purpose statement and the information from the audience to decide about the general page layout and its organization (Gube, 2010). In collaboration with the web analyst, the web designer can do an evaluation of how effectively the design is geared towards meeting the audience’s needs for the purpose of the website. The user needs may include performance requirements, functional requirements, and interface requirements
Performance requirements vary depending on the users targeted (Gube, 2010). The leading factors that contribute to performance expectations of the users include users’ psychology, systems’ consideration, and usage considerations. None of these factors is more or less important than the other. It is, therefore, important to critically balance these considerations. The use of ethnographic observation is a great approach in UI requirements specification. The other techniques are monitoring the context, as well as, environment of real users in action. Tradeoffs between what functions are done best by computers versus humans in human-computer interaction should also be discussed at this point in the development process.
Early in the design course, the user-interface designer should produce, or necessitate other people to come up with a set of functioning strategies. User interface software tools are used to gather user input. These are through an interactive system. Those who create interactive system designs experience great challenges as far as expectations from users on the final system design will be (Akiki & Bandara, 2015). In many situations interactive systems are normally novel hence in many situations users may find it difficult to realize the implications of their design decisions (Mayhew, 1999). It’s quite unfortunate that making major changes to systems once those systems have been implemented is difficult, expensive and even time-consuming. To avoid such constraints, interface designers should make users understand the outcome of their specification by use of models before actual development of an interface (Mayhew, 1999). The developers can also make the systems in a manner that will make it easy for users to quickly learn how to use the interface. Model menu systems could have single or double active navigation paths; as opposed to the numerous navigation paths that may be expected in the systems that finally go live (Mayhew, 1999). There are often issues even in systems that elicit input through forms; with the final forms not actually processing information keyed into the final system (Mayhew, 1999). Models of systems can be designed using presentation tools like MS PowerPoint or word-processors like MS Word. Flash® and Ajax can also be used (Mayhew, 1999). Building an interface in Flash is comparable with other tools. Ajax, conversely is an amalgamation of technologies used in the creation of interactive web pages (Akiki & Bandara, 2015).
Development environments such as Microsoft’s Visual Basic/C++ are easy to get started with yet have an excellent set of features. Visual Studio®, as well as C# and the .NET Framework. It is imperative that the costs as well as other factors be considered in selecting software platforms to use in projects. For instance, the scope of the project, and the software architecture needed. JDK and JavaTM are also some tools with varied services that can be considered in UI development (Usability.gov, 2016).
Methods a designer may use to design the interface based on the information gathered are entirely dependent on the User Dependent Design. Focus is on what the user may need to do. UI brings together notions from the designs of interaction, visuals, as well as, information architecture. Interface essentials comprise input controls, navigation elements, information elements, and lastly containers among others (Usability.gov, 2016)
- Akiki, P. A., Bandara, A. K., & Yu, Y. (2014). Adaptive model-driven user interface development systems. ACM Computing Surveys (CSUR), 47(1), 9.
- Benyon, D., Green, T., & Bental, D. (2012). Conceptual modeling for user interface development. Springer Science & Business Media.
- Mayhew, D. J. (1999, May). The usability engineering lifecycle. In CHI’99 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 147-148). ACM.
- Gube, J. (2010, October 5). Overview, Tools, and Resources. Retrieved from https://www.smashingmagazine.com/…/1…
- Userbility.gov, (2016, August 25). User interface design basics . Retrieved from https://www.usability.gov/…/ user -interface