10 Replies - 1102 Views - Last Post: 05 March 2010 - 08:02 AM

#1 Sethro117  Icon User is offline

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User Interfaces

Posted 02 March 2010 - 03:28 PM

I'm currently working on a few applications and one of the requirements on one was to have an extremely catchy UI. Now with this application I decided to finally jump on the Silverlight and WPF development path. So far I love it and I keep finding myself acting like a kid in a candy store. For the past couple days of me playing around with this stuff I have the mindset of "Oh that would look awesome, oh imagine what that would look like. I bet they would be thrilled if they saw this it would really make the application pop". Typically when developing WinForm applications which is what I mostly develop, I keep it simple. I use a few colors, maybe make a couple graphics and custom button control I made a while back and call it a day. Users tend to be happy with the UIs I com up with and Im not a graphic guy at all.

So my question to yall is: How do you go about UI design? Do you like to keep it simple or go overboard a little. I feel weird for the mindset I have with using WPF and Silverlight because there are so many controls that would really seem to make the applications interface really pop but at the same time I could do it with basic controls and the functionality be the same. I feel eye candy is sometimes needed but I prefer functionality and simplicity over out standing effects and graphics.

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Replies To: User Interfaces

#2 Raynes  Icon User is offline

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Re: User Interfaces

Posted 02 March 2010 - 04:57 PM

I like keeping things as simple as possible. But that's because I suck at user interface development, because layout managers are the most confusing thing I've ever dealt with.
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#3 GenHornet18  Icon User is offline

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Re: User Interfaces

Posted 02 March 2010 - 05:15 PM

I'm with Raynes, if I had the artistic skill I would likely make it look better, but alas the best I can produce is programmers art. It's more function then look in the end anyways, although if the markets competitive enough a better UI could be what sets your application apart.
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#4 TriggaMike  Icon User is offline

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Re: User Interfaces

Posted 02 March 2010 - 07:29 PM

View PostRaynes, on 02 March 2010 - 03:57 PM, said:

I like keeping things as simple as possible. But that's because I suck at user interface development, because layout managers are the most confusing thing I've ever dealt with.

Look into some GOOD GUI frameworks then if you think this is the case. Layout managers can be simple and yet very flexible all at the same time. A good example of this is qt by TrollTech.

As for user interfaces my ideology is to go with something familiar yet intuitive, and try to keep it nice and pretty. I just make sure first and foremost the GUI is designed for the person using it. It's really easy as an IT person to get caught up in all the bells and whistles and forget that the majority of people have problems navigating a menu system, let alone having fancy things happening all over the screen.
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#5 Sethro117  Icon User is offline

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Re: User Interfaces

Posted 02 March 2010 - 10:04 PM

Thats the problem with me TriggaMike. I've done more IT and System/Network Administrations than I have professional development work. Like I said I hate the mindset I have with it but I think the biggest part is because its new to me and I want to try everything out.
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#6 TriggaMike  Icon User is offline

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Re: User Interfaces

Posted 03 March 2010 - 12:36 AM

Just apply the KISS rule. Don't be afraid to do something new or exciting if it fits really well, but if you want to use something just because it's new and looks cool, it will probably take away from your application.

Try to think back to when you first started using computers, or think of how your family, friends, loved ones who aren't as good with computers use them. Think what questions they commonly ask, where they commonly stumble. If you can do that successfully, you'll be able to make your UI's much more usable.

That help a little? Because if you're looking for specifics of UI design practices I have a 900 page textbook that goes through them, but honestly I've hardly even flipped through it. I just kinda wing it most of the time.
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#7 MentalFloss  Icon User is offline

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Re: User Interfaces

Posted 04 March 2010 - 04:30 PM

The "experts" cannot even get UI right a lot of the times. It's an incredibly subjective field.

Your client wants a UI that "pops" so just go all out. Make the UI the primary focus of the development. Ensure that all UI changes are acceptable by the client. Once the UI is finished and pretty enough for your prima donna customer, then start implementing actual functionality behind the UI.

What will happen otherwise is you'll add functionality and the customer will have nothing tied to the UI itself because yeah, they "need" it at that moment it's discussed, but when it's actually in practice, they completely forgot. So, you have dead code.

Have fun.
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#8 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: User Interfaces

Posted 04 March 2010 - 05:09 PM

Unfortunately my work requires very standardized and "bland" UIs. Too much frilly UI stuff would distract from the entry and reviews and serve no particular focus to assist the users doing their job right.

With that in mind I am attempting to make the most dry UI to punish the users for the torment they give me by raking their eyes over visual sandpaper. When I find said painfully bland UI I shall let everyone know... B)
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#9 Raynes  Icon User is offline

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Re: User Interfaces

Posted 04 March 2010 - 06:57 PM

View PostTriggaMike, on 02 March 2010 - 06:29 PM, said:

View PostRaynes, on 02 March 2010 - 03:57 PM, said:

I like keeping things as simple as possible. But that's because I suck at user interface development, because layout managers are the most confusing thing I've ever dealt with.

Look into some GOOD GUI frameworks then if you think this is the case. Layout managers can be simple and yet very flexible all at the same time. A good example of this is qt by TrollTech.

As for user interfaces my ideology is to go with something familiar yet intuitive, and try to keep it nice and pretty. I just make sure first and foremost the GUI is designed for the person using it. It's really easy as an IT person to get caught up in all the bells and whistles and forget that the majority of people have problems navigating a menu system, let alone having fancy things happening all over the screen.


I seriously doubt that it's because I don't use 'good' GUI frameworks. Layout managers are confusing to me in general. I suppose I should try Jambi, but Nokia's official discontinuance leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
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#10 programble  Icon User is offline

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Re: User Interfaces

Posted 04 March 2010 - 09:12 PM

View PostRaynes, on 04 March 2010 - 07:57 PM, said:

View PostTriggaMike, on 02 March 2010 - 06:29 PM, said:

View PostRaynes, on 02 March 2010 - 03:57 PM, said:

I like keeping things as simple as possible. But that's because I suck at user interface development, because layout managers are the most confusing thing I've ever dealt with.

Look into some GOOD GUI frameworks then if you think this is the case. Layout managers can be simple and yet very flexible all at the same time. A good example of this is qt by TrollTech.

As for user interfaces my ideology is to go with something familiar yet intuitive, and try to keep it nice and pretty. I just make sure first and foremost the GUI is designed for the person using it. It's really easy as an IT person to get caught up in all the bells and whistles and forget that the majority of people have problems navigating a menu system, let alone having fancy things happening all over the screen.


I seriously doubt that it's because I don't use 'good' GUI frameworks. Layout managers are confusing to me in general. I suppose I should try Jambi, but Nokia's official discontinuance leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

1. How would you know what frameworks he has tried?
2. Layout managers are pretty much the same in all frameworks
Your argument made no sense at all.


I like to keep things simple on user interfaces, and a lot of times don't even bother with one. Usually a text or command line interface will suffice for the use of my small utilities and things. Of course, I don't write software for people other than me, so this would likely be very different if I was.
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#11 bflosabre91  Icon User is offline

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Re: User Interfaces

Posted 05 March 2010 - 08:02 AM

im lucky enough to have a job where my boss wants me to go pretty fancy on the UI side. so ive been using wpf for probably close to 2 years now and i love it. I try to stay away from adding anything that doesnt make sense but i do create different window styles and button styles and all that stuff to make the applications have a uniform look and feel.
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