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UI Design Overview

A user interface is the part of the system with which the users interact. It includes the screen displays that provide navigation through the system, the screens and forms that capture data, and the reports that the system produces. This Learning Object (LO) introduces the basic principles and processes of interface design.

Interface design is the process of defining how the system interacts with the external entities (e.g., customers, suppliers, and other systems). In this LO we focus on the design of user interfaces – the way in which the users interact with the system. Note that while there may be system interfaces that exchange information with other systems, those are not included in this LO.

The user interface includes three fundamental parts. The first is the navigation mechanism, the way in which the user gives instructions to the system and tells it what to do (e.g., buttons, menus). The second is the input mechanism, the way in which the system captures information (e.g., forms for adding new widgets). The third is the output mechanism, the way in which the system provides information to the user (e.g., reports). Each of these is conceptually different, but are closely related.