Seamless user interfaces provide developers or programmers the chance to spare users with the different software that goes into the creation of a single application. That is exactly why there is a lot of frustration when a user interface is not seamlessly designed.
Let’s see how this happens and if it is actually worth it for a programmer to force the process if a seamless interface isn’t a possibility.
What Defines a Seamless Interface?
A seamless UI or user interface is actually two computer programs that are combined into a single interface. It doesn’t matter whether the two programs in question are written by two different programmers. In fact, a seamless UI is actually designed to conceal the fact, hence the name.
Why it Matters?
Consumers expect every software application to have a seamless interface. This is why software technologies must conceal the fact that their applications are actually a combination if two different programs. It is easy to see why. A single user interface has a plethora of back end programs of which users have no knowledge. The finished object is more desirable since it offers users one, instead of several, interfaces to work with. Since programming is often spread out in different computers in a network it becomes important for developers to shield users from having to deal with the various types of logic and data that went into its creation.
Needless to say, user experience counts for a lot when it comes to such technologies and applications. Why? For one, exemplary user experience means meeting the exact needs of customers. Secondly, a products or software must also offer simplicity and elegance in products that will not only be a joy to own but to use. This is why brands and companies must promise seamless merging of services. An interface design is one of them and is expected to come up to the same standards.
A UI that is well designed will have a user interface that goes unnoticed by a user. A poorly designed user interface, on the other hand, compels the user to pay attention to its obvious defects instead of the content or features.
Of course, not every developer is successful in meshing several programs into a single interface. An interface can include programs that are designed at different times, with different data and even different languages so this doesn’t come as a surprise.
Innovations that require seamless UIs also come with their fair share of challenges especially in an age in which mobile technologies are the norm. As a result, the app and software developer of today must have a deeper understanding of how consumers interact with these devices while acquiring or looking for products or services.
Seamless UIs offer consumers a smooth hybrid of the real world and the digital world. Needless to say, a company or organization that offers seamless interfaces for its customers must ensure that the technology not only allows them to acquire products or services on the go, but the gives them a glimpse into the future of digital interactions. A future that eliminates the need for users to be connected to physical PCs or laptops to access interfaces.
In other words, developers should do everything they can to provide users with seamless interfaces provided that they have the necessary skills, time and resources to do so.
Example – The device, MagicBand from the Walt Disney Company is a case in point. The anticipated device is a marvel of seamless UI technology to say the least and a great way for the company to enhance the Disney experience for visitors. In general, the software that is used in the device transforms Disney World into a computer interface.
For example, the interface will allow a visitor to enter the premises by holding up their hand, with the device, up to a kiosk. In addition, a pre-selection option will also make it possible for users to ride their favorite rides at the time of their choosing and without having to wait hours in line.
Other examples of products that include successful seamless interfaces include the voice and gesture control option in Xbox One, Automatic that connects to your Smartphone in order to tell you whether you are driving efficiently and the intelligent app Highlight that alerts users to interesting people that might be close by.
Of course, interactive and seamless user interfaces are not only limited to the public consumer. The technology has become an indelible part of software infrastructures in companies or organizations. Sharing vital data across departments and other branches is a vital part of corporate systems. They are especially valuable to smaller businesses or entrepreneurial ventures looking to stand toe to toe with established businesses. Technologies such as seamless user interfaces can provide them with just that.
What Might Go Wrong?
It is the end result that is so frustration especially to consumers who have to use it. Developers have to keep up with consumer demand which means that they might be compelled to promise them regular software updates that, they claim, are supposedly better than their last releases. After all, applications need to grow in every successive release in order for developers to keep their prices competitive.
Unfortunately, the results are often bloated or feature laden software solutions that necessitates user interfaces that are complex enough to handle the extra baggage. In addition, they also require an increased learning curve and size of code. Defects are bound to arise in situations such as these especially if programmers are on tight deadlines and need to release the programs before their competitors do.
But the question remains, do users really care about your software? Consumer behavior seems to suggest otherwise. Remember, users are not interested in playing with user interfaces. They visit websites to share articles, buy a new book, keep up with the latest trends, write or find the nearest restaurant that offers their favorite beverage.
When All else Fails
Promising consistency in seamless user interfaces across different platforms can be a tall order for developers. Call disconnect is used to describe scenarios where users interact with multiple user interfaces. For example, a common problem in such designs is when an application’s backend processes pop up in response to an event.
Leave the UI as it is. Tweaking it anymore might just make the problem worse. And besides, while seamless task migration is desirable if it is consistent, it should not dictate an interface’s design if seamless integration is not possible.
In cases such as these, a simple user interface is a better option especially if a completely seamless design interface is not a possibility. In fact, a simple interface might prove to be a better option. The consumers of today prefer simplified applications that can provide them what they want, when they want it faster or immediately.
In other words, keeping the number of fields short in your user interface might actually be the best course of action in your case. This isn’t to say that modern consumers lack in intelligence. Except tech or brand junkies, most consumers will probably lack the inclination to explore your interface in detail.
It is the Flow that is Important
Seamless user interfaces are all about flow. A good interface will make its operation very intuitive for the user and hence easy to use. The natural order of things also needs to flow in the visual sense. The layout of certain aspects like a form might make user skip over a field for, say, filling out his credit card information in an online payment form.
Sure, you might feel compelled to spend hours to get our interface’s layout right. However, whatever your case may be your ultimate goal must be to ensure that each aspect of your interface is simple, easy to understand and navigate for the users whom you are eventually going to market your software or application to. For example, the fields on a web form must be crafted in a way that guides users from one field to the next in a way that seems natural, or for the sake of argument, seamless.
Natural User Interfaces (NUI) is a case in point. The lack of desktops and the direct manipulation of content make such resources easy to use since their interfaces are almost invisible. In other words, the user interface should not act as an obstacle that a user has to overcome to achieve his or her desired end goal.
If it isn’t Broken, Don’t Fix it
The old adage rings true when it comes to user interface designs. In fact, if there is a problem, fix the problem at the deeper level instead of piling on additional updates that will do nothing but confuse your users. If your navigation system is out of whack, tinker around and fix it. Most users generally have a very good idea about what they want but don’t have an inkling of what they actually need. It is the job of the developer or software developer to separate the needs from the wants and start there.
If you focus on the wants, it will just result in bloated, obstacle ridden interfaces that do nothing but annoy the consumer right into your competitor’s waiting arms or worse; frustrate them enough to write a bad review for everyone (read potential users) to see. However, focus on the needs and you will satisfy both yourself and your customers.
Should you follow the crowd?
Most developers think that providing consumers with familiar surroundings is a good idea. However, while this will certainly allow you to provide your users with consistency, such a course of action might not always make sense for your particular app or software. For example you may have noticed how most apps put their links or log-in buttons on the top right corner of their interfaces. But maybe doing the same will mess up your own interface. Instead, put your components where they belong and stay consistent in this regard. Your users are sure to appreciate it and best of all; you won’t have to invest hours of your valuable time to fix what is not broken in the first place.
Every facet of our lives during the past 30 years has migrated from computer screens to mobile devices. It is only a matter of time when most consumers will rely on embedded devices and services in a way that feels natural. Integrating an entire payment process into a series of taps and swipes, placing a button in the right place to take a picture are just some of the many results that developers aim for in their quest to perfect user interfaces. However, developers must know whether they should keep up with consumer demands for technologies such as seamless user interfaces if their products cannot support them.
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