How do humans interact with machines? This is a question that some of the world’s best and brightest minds have grappled with for decades. It’s what ultimately gave us what we now refer to as the UI or user interface.
Simply put, a user interface is what enables the interaction between a machine and a human. The primary goal of the UI is to allow humans to effectively control the machine while the machine returns information that helps the human make further decisions.
It's essential to have a good user interface. That's the crux of user interface design. It needs to be easy and efficient while also being enjoyable for the user. The idea must always be that minimal input should be enough for the desired output.
That’s easier said than done. User interface programming is an entire field in its own right. It’s a skill that can be improved upon with time and experience. It requires the user interface programmers to have a firm grasp of good design and psychology to create an intuitive UI.
What is a user interface programmer?
A user interface programmer is tasked with using front end technology to bring creative software design concepts to life. They must be able to form an understanding of the user interface design solution from both its practical and creative vision.
The UI programmer then acts as a bridge between the backend and the presentation layer. It's their job to create a translational layer between the two, which is known as the UI, so that both aspects can deliver up to their full potential.
It's the UI programmer's job to figure out a way around technology constraints to prioritize users and business requirements. They must design and create software interfaces that hold true to those principles.
What does a UI programmer do?
A UI programmer first participates in the design process to provide consultation concerning the possibilities of a user interface for an app’s development. The design that's eventually created by the UX designer is then taken as input by the UI programmer who then engineers it into reality.
One of the biggest responsibilities of a UI programmer is to ensure that the designs they create can automatically conform to different screen sizes and devices. This is what's known as responsive design.
The programmer has to operate under the assumption that the app will be used by people that have one of the many different mobile and desktop devices and platforms that are now available. Therefore, they have to make sure that the work is done keeping responsive design in mind.
It’s also important for them to stay on top of user interface design trends. They tend to shift quite rapidly in this day and age. New trends can come in quickly and the programmers have to adapt so that their designers always look modern and never outdated.
What skills do they need?
User interface programmers need to have a broad range of skills. This includes familiarity with modern application programming languages like XHTML, Ruby, PHP, .NET, and more. They must also have knowledge of front-end development languages like HTML and CSS.
The Adobe Creative Suite programs are great resources to utilize for UI design and as such, they need to be proficient in tools like Adobe Illustrator and Flash. This will enable them to effectively bring the design concept to life.
Usability is another key skill that user interface programmers need to have. Usability testing is done to identify any issues that exist in the user interface which may have been missed. Actual feedback can also be collected from users and all of that can then be utilized to fix and improve the UI in the future.
What are the three types of user interfaces?
- Command Line Interface
A lot of people who used computers before GUIs were a thing will remember the Command Line Interface or CLI all too fondly. A CLI is a text-based user interface that allows you to interact with a computer on a low abstraction level. It's a bit complex, and as such, it's not meant for the average user.
CLIs are still used by system administrators or when working with cloud services. There are a lot of programs and services that offer both a CLI and a GUI in order to make it easy to automate processes. The terminals of both major operating systems, Windows and Mac, are perhaps the best examples of a Command Line Interface.
There are several benefits of CLIs. They don't have a lot of CPU processing requirements and they're much faster than other types of user interfaces. It's easy to scale them in size and they're able to work on a lower resolution screen as well. Advanced users can get maximum value from a CLI by automating repetitive tasks into one command.
- A Menu-based interface
As the name suggests, a Menu-based interface takes the user through a series of screens or menus until the desired outcome is achieved. Users are required to make a selection from a list format or graphics. They are taken to the next menu after making a selection.
The settings menu on mobile devices is the perfect example of a Menu-based user interface. Users can only scroll the available options and tap on the ones provided. They can't interact with it in any other way.
A Menu-based interface is a great option if the product is aimed at novice users or just to exercise more control over user interactions. There are some limitations, though. Menu options are restricted while sub-menus can be difficult to locate. This may not be a good fit for most kinds of apps.
- Graphical User Interface
This is perhaps the most popular type of user interface. The Graphical User Interface or GUI can be as simple or complex as the programmer intends it to be. This flexibility is what allows for a variety of exceptional experiences to be created.
Despite the ability to create complex experiences, the beauty of a GUI is that even novice users can find their way around it rather easily. Furthermore, attractive visuals can be added to improve the look of the GUI.
UI programmers need to be mindful of the fact that the more complex a GUI, the more power and memory resources it's going to require. So an app meant for low-end devices should probably have as simple a GUI as possible so that it's capable of properly running on devices that don't have a lot of processing power.
Finding a user interface programmer for your custom app
That’s a question that many businesses find themselves struggling with when they decide to get a custom app made. It’s not just about finding a user interface programmer. They’re a dime a dozen these days. Only a quick online search will return countless programmers all claiming that they can do the very best job for you.
What’s more important is finding the right user interface programmer for your custom app. You want to work with someone who is skilled, knows what they’re doing, have a portfolio of work that you can review, and are capable of bringing your vision to reality.
Finding a user interface programmer that ticks all of those boxes will require you to conduct some research. You’ll need to sort through the crowd and find the one that’s truly going to become the right partner for your project. Once you do find the programmer that’s just the right fit for your project, everything else will seem to fall into place.
Consult with Zibtek
If your search for a user interface programmer has led you here, you’ve come to the right place. Our team has substantial experience in user interface programming which stems from the decades that it has spent developing apps for both Fortune 500 companies and startups alike.
The experience that our team has provides a substantial benefit for you. It can help you improve your design concepts as well as the end result. The key factors that we keep in mind when working on a project include accessibility, desirability, portability, and usability of the design.
Our team follows established design standards, workflows, and guidelines to deliver the product that you need within the agreed upon timeframe. We also have an internal process that deals with user research, testing, and implementation iteratively.
Zibtek is one of the leading software development firms with offices in Salt Lake City, Utah. It’s also where we manage our global talent pool of highly skilled developers, user interface programmers, UI designers, and software engineers from.
So whether you have an idea and are just waiting to find the perfect resource to execute it or if you’re still in the preliminary stages, contact Zibtek today and we’ll connect you with the best user interface programmers on our team.