Designing the right UI for better UX

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Good apps provide users with an interface that suits the purpose of the app, better apps provide a good user experience to encourage continued use. Games are the most popular apps on the various stores and for good reasons they are fun, they are pleasing to look at and are not tiring to use over a long term (this may not be all games but the ones built right).

Many corporates have tried to come up with apps in a bid to reach more potential clients, bring convivence to its clients, improve sales among many more reasons. These apps may function well without crashing or annoying bugs but they don’t feel good to use. Where did it go wrong? It goes wrong so early in the beginning you may barely notice it. During early stages a sketch of the interface is designed, this is the ominous red and bull pill of the matrix. Get the interface right and you have a winning app fail and you are just another number on a long list of apps available for download.

What happens if we take the red pill? Earlier I mentioned games and for a good reason there are a lot of design philosophies that can be carried over to help you design the right UI. These 3 games below and their design philosophies can be used to improve UI and subsequently

ORI: Find out What really you are trying to accomplish? This would be the core of purpose of the app. Everything else is secondary and must be treated as such. During the design of the game Ori the creator Fumito Ueda come up with a game design philosophy called Design by subtraction, simply put he broke the game down to only what was core to its purpose and the rest took a back seat or no seat at all.

At the core of his game was a story of friendship and partnership. Simplification of his game meant a more immersive feeling while playing the game and allowed for the players to feel the emotional connection between the two main characters

Adding on too much to the interface will dilute the core purpose.

SUPER MARIO: The game that has stood the test of time and a lot of interface changes has valuable lessons, especially on the design process. The creators of the game designed a character and came up with a movement (the Mario jump) and then built the rest of the Mario world around this key movement of the character.

While designing the interface keep focused on one key aspect of movement, input and/or animation. Having an interface that has sliding screens left and right, up and down, too many swipe controls maybe colourful and to a designer might look like utilization of all the tricks in the book, but to the end user it looks like a haphazard design that is trying too hard and does not understand itself. It basically communicates fear to commit and uncertainty in the design resulting to the whole app being treated with the same feelings the interface is giving the app user.

SHADOW OF MORDOR: The shadow of Mordor is game based off of the lord of the rings. A unique feature of the game that sticks out, is how the game AI interacts with the player in the game world.  The game designers have a technical enemy system that has unique characteristics to each enemy, but the cherry on the ice is how the enemy interacted with the player. They would remember you and what you did and mention it to you not a generic line.

The interface of the app needs to have a personality and learn from the user. An app interface that drags the user along unnecessary animations, inputs and/or buttons might as well just be treated as an unnecessary conversation tool that is in the way of the end result desired by the app user.

Do not bother with generic questions, inputs and messages. Having a user input a password or pin three for times doesn’t make your app secure it makes it annoying. With all the AI tools at developer’s disposal anything that is not required as validation or unique input should be simply assumed to be known by the system and no need to ask the user for this information.

An interface built using the three key components mentioned above has the ability to deliver a UX that a user feels comfortable with and enjoys how it feels like it was built for that user specifically.

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