I’ve been making more of an effort to attend more tech meetups and events for the past few weeks. One of the workshops I went to was a short course put on by Brainstation Vancouver: User Interface Design Principles. Brainstation puts on a lot of courses, and I’d only been to the space once before, for a Women Who Code meetup, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
One of the things I’ve found while learning web development is that there a lot of resources out there for learning development, but it’s a lot harder to find good resources for learning about design. That was the main reason I chose to go to this class. I also felt like I maybe didn’t have the best idea of what exactly User Interface Designers do, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to find out more about it.
The course I went to was a great introduction for me. It helped differentiate UI (User Interface) and UX (User Experience) designers- I’m still a little blurry on some aspects, but it’s definitely a lot clearer than it was. I found two lines, in particular, the most helpful:
UX – can be heard saying: “As a user, I want to be able to sign in”
UI – can be heard saying: “That logo needs to be moved one pixel to the left”
UX engineers rely more on user cases, while UI designers focus more on the design. There does seem to be a bit of overlap though.
The best part of the course, for me, was that we focused on one thing: forms. The course was only 90 minutes, so it made much better use of our time to focus than it would have been to try to cover UI more generally.
We looked at some examples of forms, discussing as a class what was good or bad about each one. Good points included vertical layouts, readable labels, and clear calls to action. Bad points were things like only relying on placeholder text to label a field (because this disappears when the user clicks the field), and poor choice of colour (which can affect readability, and camouflage a call to action) We discussed other important elements like making it obvious which fields were drop-down menus, and making it clear to the user which format you want them to use for things like dates. Conclusion: there are a lot of really bad forms out there!
It was a great course- I’m really glad that I went, and I think UX is something I’d like to learn more about and explore further!