TechTalkTuesday – User Interface

Welcome to #TechTalkTuesday – where tech terms are defined, explained, and no longer a mystery.

Today’s term is user interface.

Often referred to as UI, user interface refers to the way that a human interacts with and controls software or hardware. A well-designed UI should offer the user an intuitive and user-friendly experience.

Software installed on your laptop or an app on your mobile device will use a graphical user interface (GUI). This means that the software has visual control features that can be selected by using a keyboard, mouse, or by touch in the case of a touchscreen device.

There are often common elements amongst various GUIs. This makes it an intuitive process for users if they need to switch between operating systems. In addition, each will have familiar controls that mean users don’t need to spend hours learning a new interface.

The same holds true for browsers, spreadsheet applications, and even design software. A similar interface will allow for a consistent user experience across several programs.

Many hardware devices will also have a user interface. However, it’s typically not as complex as what you would find with the user interface for software. For example, consider what you use to interface with the big-screen television in your living room. The remote control has an intuitive design that will feature buttons and options familiar to other remote controls, such as the mute button, power button, and volume control.

User interfaces can be designed for software or hardware. Some are a blend of both. Consider your digital camera. You use buttons to navigate the on-screen menus.

The ultimate goal of a well-planned user interface is for it to be as user-friendly as is possible. Therefore, you should be able to navigate with ease.