Talk:User interface design

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not sure whether these two should be merged. For ease of discussion please talk about this on Talk:Interaction design. —Headlouse 18:29, 16 November 2005 (UTC)

Design vs. Engineering[edit]

There should be a clear distinction between User Interface Design and User Interface Engineering.--Iteration 03:54, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Yeah I agree with that. That's not what I was stating should be merged. Headlouse 08:01, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
If this particular user Mdd is allowed to pull everything that has to do with software development out from under that umbrella and put it under the umbrella of software engineering, then there will be no distinction. Pay attention to what's happening with the software development process and related articles under the template. Oicumayberight (talk) 00:57, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

Interfaces are more than GUIS[edit]

Discussion of interfaces should not be limited to human interactions. In engineering both physical and information interfaces transcend interactions with humans, for example in the area of protocols and service-oriented architectures. Interfaces between dissimilar types of materials are also very important in the physical engineering area.

I'm not sure who wrote this but it seems way outside the realm of this entry. User interface implies a user and "materials" are not users. Headlouse 08:01, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
To be pendatic, "User" only requires something that "uses", and pretty much anything can be considered a user in this way. Especially in protocol design, "User" can be read as "whatever's on the other end of the line". However, "User Interface" is pretty much exclusivly used to refer to a human interface. The less ambiguous term "Human Interface" is preferred if there is a chance of confusion.
I agree, both machines and people can be "Users", but this article is addressing Human-Machine Interfaces. Maybe the name of the article should be changed. Human-machine interfaces is a broader category than GUI, for instance this user-interface expert ([1]) argues that text, especially hyper text should be treated as a user interface.Pulu (talk) 10:09, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

External Links[edit]

The external links section seems to have been taken over by self-promoters. While I can imagine some good arguments for Norman's and Nielsen's links, I'm for getting rid of all of them, reminding everyone of the appropriate policies here, then letting people try again. (Ronz 20:08, 26 May 2006 (UTC))

Organized and cleaned them up a bit.--Ronz 19:08, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

Criticism section[edit]

I think we need to be cautious with using Cooper's books as sources. Much in his books tend to be opinions and assertions that are not factually correct when compared to the design research of the time. This is not to say Cooper was deliberately spreading falsehoods, only that he was unaware. I'm removing Cooper '03 as a source for criticism of the phrase because of this.

I found a copy of Bannon '90 and am confused as to how it's being used as a source and if the criticism can stand based solely on a 1990 paper.

Finally, as I've said before, the argument is meaningless upon examination. "Too much of X is a distraction to Y" is a bad argument alone. But given that designers don't agree on what they need to know about users' activities and "real goals", let alone how to design from this knowledge, the argument is meaningless.

I propose removing the section completely. --Ronz 17:27, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

I must have copy-pasted the wrong source. I suggest to use the following:

Bannon L. J. From human factors to human actors: The role of psychol-ogy and human-computer interaction studies in system design // Design at Work: Cooperative Design of Computer Systems / J. Greenbaum, M. Kyng (eds.).— Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1991.

I don't think that the criticism is obsolete. The creation of many newer terms like "contextual design", "user expirience design" and "activity-centered design" is partly motivated by the notion that "user interface design" doesn't fully describe the activity of software designer.

Nahrihra 18:00, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

I agree that people are looking for better terms. That's about as far as it goes, though. While some are looking for better terms to describe the work and discipline itself, others are looking for ways to sell themselves better. Using unfamiliar terms in contrast to familiar ones is just a marketing gimmick.
I'd much rather see the article address the long, on-going attempts to better describe the work and discipline. --Ronz 19:55, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

agreed, this section should be (and has been) removed. i'd have to see wider and more current writings to convince me that a couple of papers by a couple of people a couple of decades ago had any real influence over a much stronger series of teachings on user interface over these last two decades. The paper made some interesting points that may have influenced the direction of user interface research, but quibbling over titles for essentially the same theory is not useful. At the very least someone should have changed it to "has been criticised" rather than "currently criticised" as i don't think a paper from 18 years ago referencing even older works is all that current.Lou777 (talk) 20:41, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

"Intuitive" is not intuitive[edit]

The term intuitive is discouraged by UI designers as meaningless (see [2]). I'll rewrite the lead paragraph to avoid using it. Diego (talk) 17:50, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Agreed —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:23, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Expand Interface Design Research[edit]

Brenda Laurel has contributed interesting perspectives to UI design research. I think it would be worthwhile to add perspectives like this to this page. RedTech14 (talk) 18:21, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

Citation missing[edit]

Not sure what to do, but cite #5 is a dead link right now. Just thought I should let somebody know. Mattrulz127 (talk) 16:49, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

It's been fixed. --Mattrulz127 (talk) 07:32, 31 January 2017 (UTC)


I have reverted this good faith edit from a new editor, but I make a mental note that the article needs expansion on the reasons why GUIs need good design and the benefits this provides (maybe with a summary of user-centered design). Diego (talk) 15:57, 30 April 2014 (UTC)


Add the following research:

According to a study by Stafford et. al, each member of an interface development team can be placed in one of the following four categories:

  • Conceptual supervisors – People who envision the project. They know what they want the interface to be able to do and they are responsible for guiding the other members of the team to ensure that their vision is realized.
  • Visual Designers – Professionally trained in the art of information design. They help conceptual supervisors visualize the interface.
  • Programmers/Implementers – They are responsible for functionality; they interpret an interface design by writing the code to transform it into a functioning tool.
  • User – They test the interface and verify that they find it usable. They give input that helps the Programmers/Implementers fine tune the interface, making the interface behave in a manner that is more familiar and easy to use. User study was invaluable in helping refine interface design. Thanks to user feedback, the interface design is now visually connected to the rest of the interface and behaves in a manner that users find more familiar and easy to use.

Each type of contributor is invaluable and the most successful projects will have at least one representative of each category involved throughout implementation. .[1] Hectorlopez17 (talk) 00:25, 4 February 2017 (UTC)


  1. ^ Stafford, Amy; Mehta, Paras; Bouchard, Matthew; Ruecker, Stan; Anvik, Karl; Rossello, Ximena; Shiri, Ali (2009). "Four Ways of Making Sense: Designing and Implementing Searchling, a Visual Thesaurus-Enhanced Interface for Multilingual Digital Libraries". Journal of the Chicago Colloquium on Digital Humanities and Computer Science. 1 (1). Retrieved 4 February 2017.