Mobile applications are computer programs or computer software that enable the user to use different functions on their mobile devices like phones, tablets and watches. With a great demand for newer, better, faster apps of varying types, app development is immensely important.
Newer kinds of apps have become popular like GPS or Global Positioning System or some other mapping systems, order tracking, online and offline mobile games, reservations and tickets bookings, online shopping. Now, it has gone to the point where the world would not be the same if all these things ceased to exist. That is why application development is much needed. To develop an app, a system UI is quite essential.
What is a UI?
UI or User Interface is absolutely necessary for the development of applications programs and systems. A UI fills the gap between users and computers with possible features for interaction. It is used for allowing a user and a system to interact with each other. The user is always the central focus of UI systems.
What factors does a UI consider?
It considers screen outputs, input, mobility, contexts and constraints. The mobile UI contexts involve signal cues for the user’s activity. The mobile UI constraints include limited attention and intractable space for the user’s hands—basically any limitations or restraints between the user and computer interactions. The UI considers both hardware and software.
The input allows the user to enter information into the system and use it accordingly to their will. The output allows the user to see and understand the effects of their actions and how the system works. The mobile UI design prioritizes a good user interaction with the system that is easy to use and understand.
UIs are formed of more than 1 or added layers. Their layers may include:
- Human Machine Interface or HMI:
- This is an interface that has machines with hardware input that’s physical such as a mouse, keyboard, gamepads. The output hardware, on the other hand, consists of screens, speakers and headphones.
- Human Interface Device or HID:
- The device that allows HMI to be implemented is an HID or a Human Interface Device. An HID is also known as an MMI or Man-Machine Interface. More UI layers may cause the user to experience one or many external sensory such as touch by tactile UI, sight by visual UI, sound by auditory UI, smell by olfactory UI, balance by equilibria UI, and taste by gustatory UI.
- Composite User Interfaces or CUI:
- CUIs are UIs that provide sensory stimulus through two senses or more. A Graphical User Interface or GUI is the most common form of a CUI. It combines touch and sound in one, using a tactile UI and a visual UI. They display graphics. A Multimedia User Interface or MUI adds sound to the mix, composing sound, touch and visual sensory. MUI, therefore, uses visual UI, auditory UI and tactile UI.
A CUI can be classified into three categories;
- Standard: A standard CUI uses a human keyboard, mouse and screen for human interface.
- Virtual: The CUI uses a virtual reality simulator to block out the actual world to build the virtual world.
- Augmented: In Augmented reality, the real world is not blocked out at all. The CUI uses an augmented reality interface to create an augmented reality.
When a CUI adheres to all sensory stimulus of the user, it is known as a qualia interface. A qualia interface is named after the qualia theory.
Virtual reality also is classified as per the number of sensory stimuli they adhere to. Accordingly, they can be classified as either an X sense virtual reality interface or an X sense augmented interface. Here, X refers to the number of UI senses provides. Some examples of this include:
- Smell O Vision: The Smell O Vision is a Standard CUI with three senses (3S) that being virtual UI, sound UI, and smell UI.
Virtual reality with smell and touch, along with visuals and sound, is called a four sense (4S) virtual reality interface. An augmented reality interface, with smells and touch, along with visuals and sound, is also called a four sense (4S) augmented reality interface.
Human factors are incorporated into the system by tools in the interface design. UI interactions are enhanced by ergonomics. These tools are used as per the understanding of computer science, which includes computer graphics, operating systems and computer languages. Nowadays, nearly all interfaces now are Graphical Users Interfaces or GUIs as nearly everything interacts between humans and computers using graphics.
Users can interact with more further than one modality of user input through multimodal user interfaces.