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Author Topic: Examples of great, intuitive, clever UI design?  (Read 2007 times)

JavaJones

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Examples of great, intuitive, clever UI design?
« on: April 25, 2016, 11:44:34 AM »
Hi folks! I'm in the process of conceptualizing a new graphics program and I'm looking for ideas and inspiration in user interface design. I would love to see your favorite examples of excellent, well designed, intuitive, even "clever" User Interfaces in applications (not websites). Aesthetics matter too, but I'm mostly interested in functional design.

It would be especially helpful to see examples of applications with complex functionality that is exposed through an intuitive UI. 3D programs, music programs, etc. Creative applications, content creation, that kind of thing.

Ideally examples would be from desktop applications, but mobile apps (phone/tablet) are useful tool. Basically any UI that has ever made you go "wow, I wouldn't have thought of that" or use words like "inspired", "ingenious", or "slick" to describe it. The kind of UIs that are immediately intuitive and easy to use, appealing to look at, and a pleasure to interact with. With everything where it "should" be and no actions taking more steps than seem necessary.

Examples of UIs with some nice ideas and "touches", but that are not necessarily a cohesively awesome UI all around also helpful. But I'm really looking for excellent all-around design examples.

Thanks much!

- Oshyan

mouser

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Re: Examples of great, intuitive, clever UI design?
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2016, 04:12:10 PM »
Quote
Basically any UI that has ever made you go "wow, I wouldn't have thought of that"

I'll try to think of some but to be honest i'm happiest when the UI is completely standard and causes me not to notice it -- a nice clean standard UI with nothing unusual.

wraith808

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Re: Examples of great, intuitive, clever UI design?
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2016, 06:05:51 PM »
Quote
Basically any UI that has ever made you go "wow, I wouldn't have thought of that"

I'll try to think of some but to be honest i'm happiest when the UI is completely standard and causes me not to notice it -- a nice clean standard UI with nothing unusual.


Same here.  Some of the best and most innovative UX designs to me have been minimal and simplistic, finding a way to cut things down to expose the core of the application.  "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction."

zorinisso

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Re: Examples of great, intuitive, clever UI design?
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2016, 04:22:49 AM »
The first one i think of is a software i use every day: http://moi3d.com/
Great ui, everything is under your fingers, just before you need it. It's a programme to design in 3d, easy to use, light, great intuitive ui

Tuxman

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Re: Examples of great, intuitive, clever UI design?
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2016, 09:45:32 AM »
An outstanding UI that comes to my mind is GitKraken's: http://www.gitkraken.com

Other than that, I'm with mouser here. Too much blinking stuff usually rather distracts from your real work.

holt

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Re: Examples of great, intuitive, clever UI design?
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2016, 06:27:59 AM »
Does it have to be real world? How about this from the film Hackers;
"This is the best bad idea we have, sir. By far." (cf. 'Argo'.)

holt

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Re: Examples of great, intuitive, clever UI design?
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2016, 07:32:11 AM »
Linux 3D Desktop
This is a link to duckduckgo images and shows numerous pix; I could wish for something like this in a Windows format.
"This is the best bad idea we have, sir. By far." (cf. 'Argo'.)

holt

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Re: Examples of great, intuitive, clever UI design?
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2016, 10:19:01 AM »
I think it would be totally cool to have a game-like 3-D subsection to the forum, where you have to move around in a virtual world of corridors, and either the walls or columns must be clicked on to open files. As a trial concept, I envision an experimental virtual UI which exists as much for the development of the 3-D UI concept, as for a forum of random ideas. Like the original DOOM, maybe keep the pixel count low at first to counterbalance the heavier data rates and prevent stack overloads or RAM lockups. You would need a game-like layout, with users having unique visible bots. Thus, users could interact with each other in real time, as well as with the virtual environment. Like a first person shooter, but no actual shooting; more instead like academia, with dialogue balloon pop-ups over the bots. Invisible spectators might appear as anonymous glowing firefly dots which can move about freely. 
"This is the best bad idea we have, sir. By far." (cf. 'Argo'.)
« Last Edit: May 09, 2016, 10:29:35 AM by holt »

anandcoral

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Re: Examples of great, intuitive, clever UI design?
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2016, 12:22:17 PM »
Hi JavaJones,

if you are adventurous I will suggest the following,
1. Use mouse hover action
2. Bigger buttons or images in place of buttons
3. Change color / image on click or mouse hover
4. Show window in slide and close in fade ways
5. Play some small ding dong
6. All messages, even error ones should be funny, like you are saying to your pals.
etc.

I used to make the above even in DOS, yes. Box graphics to open and slide away, etc.

But as Mouser said, keep an option 'Disable Animation/CPU hog etc.', as user will very soon want a simple cleaner interface to get the job done fast.

Note : Games do not count here. They MUST be very bold in graphics and music.

Regards,

Anand

Deozaan

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Re: Examples of great, intuitive, clever UI design?
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2016, 12:28:51 PM »
I think it would be totally cool to have a game-like 3-D subsection to the forum, where you have to move around in a virtual world of corridors, and either the walls or columns must be clicked on to open files. As a trial concept, I envision an experimental virtual UI which exists as much for the development of the 3-D UI concept, as for a forum of random ideas. Like the original DOOM, maybe keep the pixel count low at first to counterbalance the heavier data rates and prevent stack overloads or RAM lockups. You would need a game-like layout, with users having unique visible bots. Thus, users could interact with each other in real time, as well as with the virtual environment. Like a first person shooter, but no actual shooting; more instead like academia, with dialogue balloon pop-ups over the bots. Invisible spectators might appear as anonymous glowing firefly dots which can move about freely. 

What you're describing sounds like a combination of VRMLw and Second Life.


holt

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Re: Examples of great, intuitive, clever UI design?
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2016, 10:17:20 PM »
I looked at some pix of Second Life in duckduckgo 'images', and decided that it wasn't quite what I was thinking of.

I think the screen grab I did of the film 'Hackers' is more like it (in some kind of VRML format, as an experimental subsection of the 'normal' DC forum layout); users could be represented just as nicely by little white dots that streak when they move around, as in the red circle in this pic:
"This is the best bad idea we have, sir. By far." (cf. 'Argo'.)
« Last Edit: May 10, 2016, 10:36:48 PM by holt »

JavaJones

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Re: Examples of great, intuitive, clever UI design?
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2016, 06:59:33 PM »
Thanks for the responses so far!

Clever and good UI design can still be simple, even minimalist. In fact cutting down a design to the bare minimum necessary is a huge skill in itself. So examples of good minimalist designs that *hide underlying complexity* (either in functionality or in the concepts/knowledge underlying the app functions) are absolutely useful! Making a simple UI for a simple app is less impressive and interesting, of course. ;)

The first one i think of is a software i use every day: http://moi3d.com/
Great ui, everything is under your fingers, just before you need it. It's a programme to design in 3d, easy to use, light, great intuitive ui

This is exactly what I was looking for as my interest is actually specifically in 3D as well! I didn't want to focus too much in that area so as not to skew feedback. :D There are some nice aspects to that app, but if you have any more detail you can provide, specific things you like in the UI (especially vs. other well-known apps with similar functionality), that would be great. If not no worries.

Hi JavaJones,

if you are adventurous I will suggest the following,
1. Use mouse hover action
2. Bigger buttons or images in place of buttons
3. Change color / image on click or mouse hover
4. Show window in slide and close in fade ways
5. Play some small ding dong
6. All messages, even error ones should be funny, like you are saying to your pals.
etc.

But as Mouser said, keep an option 'Disable Animation/CPU hog etc.', as user will very soon want a simple cleaner interface to get the job done fast.
<snip>

Thanks for those ideas. I agree, some of that is good. I especially like panels that are available to slide in/out as-needed, dynamic state change, and prominent but unobtrusive visual indication of status, changes, etc.

Speaking of interesting UI ideas, concepts, approaches, etc. your last comment about having an option for simplification made me think of this:
http://layervault.tu...rogressive-reduction

Any more ideas or examples? Thanks!

- Oshyan

Jimdoria

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Re: Examples of great, intuitive, clever UI design?
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2016, 05:01:40 PM »
Well, if you are interested in 3D, I hope you have had a look at SketchUp. It has a very innovative UI that shows a lot of attention to ease of use. There's a free trial which should be good enough for you to check out the UI.

I'm going to throw in some general comments, since UI design is kind of my thing.

  • You will get the UI wrong. You will. No matter how many examples you look at, or cool ideas you hear about. Just accept it now. The only way to get your UI right is to watch people actually use it to do stuff. And the only way to do THAT is to build it wrong and get it into people's hands, then see where they get stuck. So by all means start with the best examples you can find. But don't stop there.
  • Make really sure that hiding complexity is actually serving your users. If you look at most 3D design packages, they have a fairly complex UI, but that's because the task itself is complex. An intuitive UI is the opposite of training; the simpler UI, the lower the learning curve. In the world of commercial software this is usually considered a good trade, since people are impatient. But as the task increases in complexity, the trade-off provides less value. A jumbo jet has a complex UI, but that's OK because you don't really want somebody flying one who hasn't be thoroughly trained.  :)
  • A lot of programmers tend to think of their UI in terms of features. "My program has 534 features and the UI must make sure the user can access all of them." But users do not want features. They want to do cool stuff, using your software if it will help them. In other words, users care about tasks, because tasks lead to outcomes, and they are after the outcomes. UI design is about understanding what your user is trying to accomplish, and then building a pathway to that accomplishment through the forest of features you are providing. Where does your user spend most of their time? What are the tasks they do every time they run your program? What are the tasks they complete once in a blue moon? Prepare to optimize and polish the everyday stuff, and provide guidance on the blue moon stuff, since most users won't remember as well how to do it.

The good news about user experience is that watching a relatively small number of people (5-10) use your app will catch a large percentage of any user interface errors. You will see people make the same mistakes time and again, and it will be easy to find the low-hanging fruit for improvement. But be prepared to set up some sessions where you watch people work with your app and learn from their mistakes.
- Jimdoria ~@>@

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