User Interface and User Experience defined by InvisionApp.com:
When I was tasked with designing the User Interface for Orenda I had no experience designing for a user, apart from relatively small-scale website designs in school and professionally. It was incredibly intimidating to be the only designer bringing the software to usability. I knew I needed to gain a deep understanding of the functions of the software, including the goals of the user, who they were, and what copy writing would make the most impact for their understanding. The development of the software was constantly growing and shifting. Researching into the process of user interface designing proved valuable but only until I started experimenting and getting feedback did it come to fruition. The first draft of the interface had a finite number of functions; the interface was minimal, as shown below.
When the software grew to be more complicated, I began by mapping out the functions with the development team to understand the structure that the user would see, and what was to remain in the back-end.
Mapping out pages
Dashboard (From businessintelligence.com)
A dashboard is a screen that consolidates critical performance metrics all in one place, making it easy for users to stay constantly updated on the information most important to their business.
Following this breakdown and a few others, I could begin mapping out the most important functions to display on the Dashboard.
From this point onward myself and the ever-patient software developer Ardell, worked together to bring each function to visibility.
One of the first drafts of the new dashboard
The dashboard today
One of the biggest challenges in the process was communicating with team members to understand how each of their individual expertise was to be translated into the software. “Fake it until you make it” was a reality I had to come to terms with. There was no ‘’step by step rules’ or ’36 things to include in your interface guide’. I had to accept that there was no perfection, but clarity could be found in time and trial and error.
I learned a lot and understand that I am still a beginner in the world of designing for a user. I enjoyed the task because now I understand how integral the role of a user interface designer has become. The success of a technology application or software hinges on it.
Jessie James Garrett’s describes the Interface designer’s critical role in a company:
This, combined with the lack of specified training, means that experienced UI designers are rare. The median salary for a UI/UX designer in the United States is $87,000 a year. This is on par with Nurse Practitioners, Biomedical Engineers, Neurologists, etc. With the growing need for this profession, it requires different people from varied educational backgrounds to essentially craft their own path to provide successful technology and human interactions.
The task taught me to believe in my own skill set, and trust that the outcome would work. I know that user interface and experience design is a facet of interest for me in my career. It was and will continue to be challenging, making the outcome dynamic each time. Orenda’s user experience was born in improvisation but continues to evolve into a sophisticated system to serve our clients and their needs.