Whether you are running a website, or want to install an information kiosk or self-service machine in a store, there are all kinds of reasons you might need to create an interface that will be used by the general public. By interface, or UI, is meant the graphics and the layout that the customers or visitors will need to interact with in order to obtain the information they need to access services. In a website then for instance the interface is what you also see referred to as the ‘navigation’ meaning that it’s the menu buttons and banners that will indicate to your visitors where they need to click and how to get between pages.
When you create this interface you will have a number of different requirements and specifications, one of which is ‘ease of use’. It’s important here that you make your interface as user friendly as possible and accessible to a wide demographic so that you aren’t ruling out part of your market or upsetting your visitors. For this you need to step back and think of your UI not as a technologist, but as your Grandma or Mum – would they be able to intuitively understand it and find their way around? Here we will look at what makes an intuitive interface.
The most intuitive interfaces are touch screens. While most people 40 and below are used to using a mouse and keyboard these days, many older individuals don’t have that experience and will find using a mouse off putting and confusing. When it comes to touchscreens though, this is a very simple and easy way to interact with the information – by simply reaching out and touching what you want to engage with, or using simple gestures such as a swipe to turn pages.
Large Buttons and Fonts
With this in mind then it’s also important to make sure that you use large buttons that are going to be easily visible and that are going to contrast with the rest of the site. If you have a small text link then this could be difficult to read for someone with vision problems, and it would take longer than a graphical representation. Make your buttons colourful too and they will be even quicker to find and click.
Likewise though if you are using content elsewhere in your UI then you should make sure that this is large too so that people with prescription lenses aren’t left in the dark. And if you opt for graphical glyphs and icons, it’s important to make sure these are logical so that you aren’t left puzzling.
If you have a website or kiosk layout that’s too crowded then this can end up distracting people from knowing what to click. This is called ‘options paralysis’ when the number of different elements and options on a page leaves someone not knowing where to go next or what to click. To avoid this issue try to keep as much white space on the page as possible and make it clear which buttons are the ‘main’ buttons that should be clicked.
Johnny Gates is a travelling enthusiast and has travelled all around the world. He likes sharing his travelling experiences with the readers in his blogs. He just returned from a trip to Singapore and is really impressed with the information kiosks installed at the airports.