MediaBeacon Blog

What is User Interface and User Experience?

Last Updated: March 13, 2019
Written by: Maria Jollie

New MediaBeacon 2018 digital asset management solution UI

When it comes to digital platforms, the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) is key to a successful website, software application, or any digital program that involves user interaction.

What Comprises UI and UX?

  • The user interface includes the interface elements that a user interacts with as they work in the application. An aesthetically pleasing and easy to use program is said to have a good user interface.
  • The user experience refers to how easily and naturally a user is able to navigate through the operational elements of the application they are working in. An efficient and intuitive program is said to have a good user experience.

If a program has a poor user interface and user experience design, the person who is using the application won’t be able to use it for the intended purpose. Users who can’t accomplish their tasks through the application will get frustrated, cease to use it, and will most likely develop a negative impression of the company who created the application. Because of the potentially significant impact of the user interface, it’s no surprise that companies have increased their focus on hiring people to conduct user research and best practices for user-centered design.

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Who Creates the User Interface?

The job role that focuses on user interface and/or user experience is a UX/UI Designer or Developer. This type of role is responsible for creating and updating the interface so that it is aesthetically pleasing, simple for the user, and easy to accomplish the desired tasks.

A UX/UI Designer needs to understand how users will interact with the interface and how their actions will add value to their role, their processes, and their company. A good designer will focus on creating an interface that is so intuitive, the user hardly even knows they are operating a software program.

Designers focused on creating the best user interface should think about key user interface design principles to help them create applications that are usable, useful, and accessible. By focusing on the right UI elements during the design phase, they can help users perform more efficiently in their software program.

Key User Interface Design Principles

There are key principles that go into high quality user interface and experience design. These should be top of mind in the creation of any software application, and there should be research and analytics that go into the design process to understand how the users will work in the application.

  • Control
    The user should always be in control of what they are doing in the interface. They should know what they need to accomplish, how they can achieve it, and how to identify any potential issues. Informational elements of a UI can help with this. For example, an “i” icon in an interface is an element that can be hovered over to reveal key information about the highlighted interface. Undo and redo options also help keep the user feel in control. If there is an issue, the exact issue should be apparent so the user can properly resolve it.
  • Simplicity
    The interface should be simple and free of unnecessary distractions. An interface that is being created for casual users should be easy to use, it should not include inventive, fancy features that require assistance to understand. Familiarity and minimalism is key to UI and UX so that users can easily navigate the interface. Keeping things simple also helps prevent excessive loading times so that the user experience is positive. The interface should include progressive disclosure so that only the information that is necessary is shown. As the user navigates further into the task, the appropriate information should be provided as each step requires, rather than displaying an overload of information all at one time.
  • Visual
    Visual aids and informational components help guide users along in the process they are trying to complete within the application. Visual aids can be recognizable icons, color coding, or easy access to more information on a particular aspect of the interface. For example, if a user is entering a password that is incorrect, it can be visually indicated in red to emphasize that there’s an error, but it should also display text to help the user realize that the error is due to an incorrect character in the password.
  • Consistency
    Actions that can be completed throughout multiple pages in the interface should be completed in the same way. Users should not have to figure out completely new and different ways to perform the same action on a different page, or it will take longer than necessary to complete actions. Elements that look similar should have similar functions and should do what is inherently expected. Consistent pages create familiarity and ease for users, thus providing a smooth, intuitive experience in the user interface.
  • Instinctive
    Provide natural next steps with natural flow. Navigational components should make it easy to identify where users need to go to complete their next objective. An interface that is instinctual will allow users of differing skill levels to interact with the application and accomplish their objectives. When designing the user interface, try to reduce the total number of targets and the time that it takes a user to complete any given task.

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UI, UX, & MediaBeacon

When it comes to digital asset management (DAM), the user interface can make the difference between a beneficial DAM and an unsuccessful DAM. That’s why Usability and User Interface is one of the criteria in the Forrester Wave™, a DAM evaluation by an independent research firm.

MediaBeacon has been focused on providing the best possible experience for users and has made significant upgrades to the software UI. This focus on UX design led to a high score for MediaBeacon in Usability and User Interface in the latest Forrester Wave. MediaBeacon also received the highest score overall in the current offering category of the report.

MediaBeacon has focused on bringing the best in visual design to bring you the best in DAM. With the newest release, MediaBeacon 2018, users can navigate easily, execute tasks quickly, and monitor progress smoothly. Plus, the integration, customization, and configuration options allow your digital assets to connect seamlessly to other systems in your martech stack.