A user interface (UI) is a conduit between human and computer interaction – the space where a user will interact with a computer or machine to complete tasks. The purpose of a UI is to enable a user to effectively control a computer or machine they are interacting with, and for feedback to be received in order to communicate effective completion of tasks.
A successful user interface should be intuitive (not require training to operate), efficient (not create additional or unnecessary friction) and user-friendly (be enjoyable to use).
A Graphical User Interface (GUI) is specifically for software. It utilises generated UI elements such as text, links, buttons and images to construct a design system that form the user experience. When we refer to a UI in Software Design, Digital Design, Web Design or UX Design, we usually mean a graphical user interface.
In UX Design, a user interface and the resulting behaviours are an end output of the design process. User interfaces can be visualised in many ways and in many degrees of fidelity. On the web user interfaces are usually rendered as HTML & CSS, and in native applications using native or custom libraries. A design system is often visualised as a collection of UI elements that define a guidelines for building a user experience within a given platform.
A UI Designer will often use visualisation software to conceive a UI before it is built in code. UI Design is a large part of what we do at Every Interaction – every project we work on involves UI Design.
Graphical user interface