Nowadays, UI and UX design are essential for almost every business. Without these technologies, every device or software usage would be unattractive or even impossible. But what are they, and why are they important?
UI vs. UX What Is the Difference?
First of all, why could they be met together? All of us at least once saw the UI/UX phrase. They are two parts of one process. UI stands for User Interface, while UX is user experience. The combination of the UI and UX provides the best final result. To understand why we should take a look at both of them separately.
UX is about gathering data and analyzing it. It is not only about the users’ info, but the way they interact with the product, what issues they struggle with, their opinion on how to improve it, etc. All of this information and acts are done to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the final product.
Moreover, this research is being done not only after the release but also during the development stage. Therefore, it is essential to understand that UX takes care of the possible bugs or errors that could occur and the usability and response rate, visual perception, and many many more.
So, in other words, UX is about testing the product in all stages, from development to release. It provides the maximum possible comfort for the end-user, including all their demands and interactions, including even unconscious or not obvious to the user features.
The user interface is a visible part of the software, hardware, or other computer-related systems used for interaction. It is the mean of user-program communication.
UI design defines what exactly the interaction will look like. It consists of different elements, types, and approaches. Every application or website, computer program, or even code-based device uses it. All of the visual components are elements of the UI design.
UI impacts small visual details and defines the whole communicational structure of the product, both visible and hidden. For example, each application has a common view of the way it is supposed to look for the end-user. Also, they have a command-line user interface, visible only on the codding level, which is used mostly by the developers. Therefore, both of them are UI-based. Also, it is essential to understand that a graphic user interface is not the only possible type of UI.
The multiplicity of types of UI is huge. The different approaches cause this variation in using the applications or devices and constantly improving their technical capabilities. Moreover, it complicates making the correct choice because the specific product requires a reference UI design. This is why it is better to get acquainted with all the types of UI before starting the development of your product. This will help you not only to save time and effort but to possibly, choose a better method of implementation. So what are the other types of UI?
Types of UI Design Patterns
At the moment, 5 major types of UI designs differ in the working principles of interaction: Command-line user interface (CLI), Graphical UI (GUI), Touchscreen UI (TUI), Voice-controlled UI (VUI), and Gesture- based UI (GbUI). Moreover, some of them have their subtypes. So, let’s take a closer look at each of them and find out which case these types of UI could be used.
Command-line User Interface
It is one of the first interfaces ever and maybe the most widespread one. It is still used almost everywhere as an interaction tool by developers. It is a text-only interface where textual commands perform all the actions. The command-line user interface is often used as a basic platform for most code-based projects. Moreover, most programming apps or programs are created in the command-line user interface as well. For example, GitHub provides the codespaces as an opportunity to write and check the code online and to present their code as a CV or portfolio for employers or other programmers. Mostly, the GitHub website is a command-line user interface, but it would be fair to say that it is more a hybrid of a console and graphic interfaces.
It is the most common and advanced type of UI nowadays. According to the name, we can assume that the main communication method of this type is visual elements. Actually, in this case, graphic components are triggers of the actual digital processes, so after the activation of a button or other UI elements, the process starts. So, unlike the CLI, GUI is more user-friendly and allows using all the features without any additional background, thanks to all the commands being automatized.
Also, most of the graphic components are created according to psychological research to simplify understanding these icons or widgets and make their functionality as obvious as possible. It is sometimes called the “natural user interface,” meaning that using it feels as if it was natural. The natural user interface is a very subjective thing that varies depending on the context of a specific user or group of users. To create such an interface, you will need a lot of UX as well in order to analyze the specifics of user interactions.
Also, talking about GUI we must say that the variety of UI design approaches, in this case, is the biggest. For example, when creating a website, you have at least 3 different ways to embody the GUI: to create a landing page interface, a menu-driven interface, or use the scrollytelling. Even if all of these interfaces can exist on their own, it is better to mix them and use them rather as elements of the system instead of as independent approaches.
Landing Page Interface
It is when instead of creating a combination of different pages linked with each other, the developer simply creates a single-page interface. In this case, all the information is presented on the same page and could be, for example, grouped by categories, etc. The main aspect is that the interaction with such a page is limited to one main orientation (vertical or sometimes horizontal) Shadda, one of our recent projects, is a great example of a landing page interface.
Mostly, the landing page interface is used for advertisement or promotion because it is easier for the user to perceive the information. This is why it is highly important to understand the key information you want to convey and create a correct order of its essential aspects. Also, the Landing page interface could exist independently, but it can also be implemented as part of a full-fledged website.
It is the most common GUI design approach. It seems that there is no need for a further detailed explanation. In order to simplify the user’s orientation over the website or an app, you create a menu with different rooms of information, actions or multimedia groped by different common features or topics.
Also, there is another possible definition of the menu-driven interface. For instance, it is an interface that offers the opportunity to use limited functionality operating the predesigned list of actions. The best example of such a case is ATM. When you use ATM – you use the menu-driven interface that allows you to withdraw money or top up your account, check your card balance, etc.
Intermediate, both cases provide you with a predesigned menu or a list of possible features you can choose.
Scrollytelling and Feed
It is mostly used in media or blogs. Scrollytelling may also be confused as “feed,” but they are different. The principles of its work are easy; As you can understand from its name, it is about “scrolling” and “storytelling.”
Usually, it is a single endless page where all the information is provided. It is a popular type of UI among media because it is untrivial at the moment and easily of interest to the users. Moreover, it allows making the long-read format interactive.
On the other hand, feed is not the type of user interface but a UI concept. The similarity between feed and scrollytelling is that they present a lot of information on a single page with almost endless scrolling chances. The difference is that while scrollytelling provides a logically connected story, feed gives a bunch of different informational content, which can have no actual linkage at all.
As an alternative to the usual desktop UI, the Touchsсreen one appeared. Thanks to the growth and rapid development of the mobile sector and the invention of smartphones, the need for new UI design patterns arose.
The main difference between touchscreen UI and, for example, graphical UI consists of the interaction methods. It is obvious that Touchscreen UI’s main interaction tools are toches and scrolling, while the desktop GUI uses a keyboard, mouse, or other controllers, as well as a virtual cursor. The main additional benefit of using the touchscreen UI is that it is a more natural user interface. It is more obvious for most people to use a touch interaction system than different combinations of various icons and signs and various controllers.
In contradistinction to previous ones, voice-controlled UI has no visual content. Almost all the operations are being done using human voice commands. The system architecture, in this case, is different.
It would be a crazy idea to choose a voice-controlled UI over the usual graphical one for a website. Travel, it is how the technical revolutions happen. For example, it is a great idea for a website whose target audience is blind people.
Even though this type of UI does not care about the look or visualization, there is a number of issues to deal with. For example, one of them is the ability to distinguish voice and commands. In addition, the problem with language implementation appears because different languages obviously have different pronunciations, etc. The list of possible issues related to language distinction is much bigger.
Also, don’t forget about the natural user interface, meaning that commands must be obvious and easy. It is a great idea to add alternative synonym keywords, so there would be no misunderstandings.
At the moment, this UI is growing its potential. Mostly, it is used in virtual assistants such as Siri for iPhone or Alexa from Amazon. Most tech giants use this method to create new devices or to improve already existing ones. As a great bonus, some of such bots are offered as a development platform for third-party companies. For example, you can upgrade your application using the custom voice technology assistant based on the Alexa platform.
It is another innovative UI design pattern. It could be embodied in AR and VR technologies. Such a UI approach allows interactions with fully virtual objects while using additional devices, such as 3d-glasses. Despite the fact that VR and AR techs are developing slowly, there are a lot of features and opportunities expected in the future.
For example, there are already developing devices like Meta Gloves or the Emerge Wave 1 project that simulate the shape or texture of the virtual object.
Despite these futuristic prototypes, there is a bunch of devices that enable using gestures as a full-fledged interaction tool. For example, the Kinect system for Xbox 360 and Xbox One gaming consoles tracks the movement of the real person and transforms these moves into in-game actions.
Also, the number of VR and AR spaces increased as well. For example, VRchat is a virtually based hub that allows communication with other users.
The only “but” that applies to gesture-based UI is almost impossible to interact with virtual reality without special devices.
Actually, it is hard to tell exactly which types of user experiences are better for specific purposes because all of them are great methods if they are qualitatively designed.