It is a common belief that design is the art of making things beautiful, while design is much more than that. Design at its core is the art of problem solving. In his 1988 bestseller, The Design of Everyday Things, Don Norman talks about how we interact with the machines, gadgets and objects we use every day.
Taking the example of a washing machine with a control panel similar to that of an airplane, he illustrates the importance of how intuitive design can bring ease and joy to the use of such objects.
Apply the same principle to the virtual world, taking into account the wide variety of apps and websites we use regularly. Also consider the more sophisticated and complicated use of interfaces in areas such as healthcare, urban infrastructure and planning, public services and many more.
It becomes imperative that the interfaces here are accessible, designed intuitively and make the user experience positive. This is where the importance of good UI-UX design becomes apparent. Let’s take a look at the top five tech fields that rely heavily on UI-UX design.
In early 2019, Wired published a story about an emerging technology called Mirror World, which seamlessly merges the real world with augmented reality. Mirror World superimposes digitally constructed places over real places from our world, creating experiences that would normally be inaccessible to humans. Google’s Daydream VR headset and controller are an expression of such an experience.
The plush and comfortable VR headset offers you more than just apps and games. It brings you experiences. While the technology behind this is impressive, the user interface is how you experience the AR/VR world.
Every time your favorite app makes a few tweaks to their interface, it can be a delightful experience or cause to complain about. More often than not, it’s the latter. Over time, users become accustomed to the functionality and layout of the interface.
The slightest change can cause inconvenience to the user and may even cause the user to leave the app. Platforms like the Play Store or the App Store have strict standards for putting apps in the spotlight. One of the most important deciding factors for a positive rating is how the users rated the app based on the user experience.
AR and VR apps and games
For the longest time, virtual games have thrived based on the popularity of their user interface and how players enjoy it. Even if you’re new to the world of virtual games, you’ve probably heard names like Minecraft, Animal Crossing, Dungeons and Dragons, World of Warcraft, Grand Theft Auto, Pokémon Go, and more.
While this is by no means an authoritative list of the best games, these have expanded their user base over the years and continue to grow in popularity thanks to the highly interactive user interface and inclusive user experience they bring to their players.
Do you have a smart speaker? Have you come across people who ask or even command their devices like phones, tablets, computers etc. to perform a task and watch the task happen? That’s the magic of speech-based interfaces. Widely regarded as the next big thing, speech-based interfaces have been around since IBM pioneered the Shoebox in 1961, with a limited ability to recognize fewer than twenty words and nine digits.
It’s only recently that Google’s voice assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, and Apple’s Siri have begun to dominate the space with their superlative capabilities to process voice commands. While not guided by touch, interface design and experience are critical factors in driving development in the domain.
Certainly not a new field, but with Internet 3.0, the way users interact with and experience web applications has changed significantly. This change is driven by developments in UI/UX design. While mobile is the platform of choice for many users, web applications are not yet ready to be written off. People continue to use web applications and their development relies in large part on the UI-UX arm of the development team.
When you visit a website for the first time and can find your way around without any problems, you will rate your experience as good. When you struggle to find basic functionality, your experience is hampered. This remains an ongoing exercise to balance functionality and design for UI-UX designers involved in such projects.
The future is bright for all things design
With the nature and magnitude of technological advancements across a broad spectrum of applications, design has understandably emerged as the leading force shaping people’s experiences of hands-on applications, entertainment and games, augmented reality, and more.
LinkedIn reported that UI-UX Design has been in the top five hard skills in demand three years in a row, with the average US UI-UX designer earning up to $85,000 per year. All things considered, today is a great time to be a UI-UX designer.
The above views are those of the author.
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