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GUI Tips / Standards

Yohan Weerasinghe
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 07, 2010
Posts: 499

Hi,

I am developing some freeware in these days, but the GUI is the problem. In most cases, I can't imagine how the GUI should look like. Are there are any tips and standards for creating GUI? Please help


Are you better than me? Then please show me my mistakes..
Roberto Perillo
Bartender

Joined: Dec 28, 2007
Posts: 2266
    
    3

Howdy, Yohan!

Well, there is something very important to be considered when designing GUIs, which is usability. You can find a lot of useful information here.


Cheers, Bob "John Lennon" Perillo
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Yohan Weerasinghe
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 07, 2010
Posts: 499

Thank your very much for the reply. I will jump into that site right now. Anyway, is there is any "Head First" book for teaching these things?
Maneesh Godbole
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jul 26, 2007
Posts: 10489
    
    9

In most cases, I can't imagine how the GUI should look like.

Like Roberto already mentioned, usability is King while designing any interface. Interface need not be limited to only software. It can be also how a coffee mug handle is designed. Is the end user going to be male? Try and give the handle loop extra height because a mans paw is typical bigger than the female. Is the end user going to be female? She probably likes long nails. It might be a good idea to make the coffee mug coated with some scratch resistant surface. Is the mug going to be used in environments where the user's hands might be sweaty? Give the handle a slip proof grip. And you need to make it look good and attractive.

The basic tenet of usability is minimal learning curve for the end user. Your application might be awesome loaded with tons of super features. But if the end user needs to spend 3 hours learning how to use it, then there is a big chance no one is going to bother unless they have a compelling reason, and even then they will hate it.

When designing your UI, it is a good idea to
  • Identify who your end users are
  • Put yourself into the end user's shoes
  • Approach the UI with a blank mind and try to see if the UI makes sense
  • Split the UI into logical inter related units
  • Make the UI intuitive enough so that it's obvious to the user how to use it
  • Remember a picture speaks a thousand words. Try to use as many icons as possible
  • And finally, make sure it's good attractive and interesting to the end user.


  • After you are done with your first draft of UI design, check if there are other applications which are similar to yours in functionality. Check out their UIs and see how they do it. Try to mix and match. Identify areas of improvement in their UIs and try to implement those features in your UI. Do all this even before writing a single line of code.
    Draw your UI mockup using some tool such as Pencil or a white board or even paper. Show (dont tell) it to a few typical end users and ask them to tell you what it is all about. If they can, you are in business. If not, repeat.

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    Yohan Weerasinghe
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Oct 07, 2010
    Posts: 499

    Thanks a lot for all the details guys.. I really appreciate that...Thanks again
     
    It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
     
    subject: GUI Tips / Standards