It should be reassuring to know that when you become irritated or frustrated with your smart phone or your vacuum cleaner or you hotel room key, it is not because you are dim or stupid. The main reason is simply bad interface design on your device. The art of interface design - UI and often called UX (User Experience) - is a difficult discipline because as everyone knows, keeping things simple is often very difficult.
User Interface design has become an art form in itself. The art is making the control of our devices and utensils so easy to understand that you could say that UI is art of the obvious. Like much great design, you don't really notice it's there because the function of the product has become so natural. However behind that simplicity is a long story of being able to see the process through the eyes of the user - no matter who the user is. The user of a smart phone can be a child, a teenager, a busy adult or an older senior citizen. UX becomes a balancing act of understanding humanity and culture.
The exciting things about UX is that it is everywhere. In your car, in the train and throughout airports. At work, in hospitals. Getting to your gate at the airport needs signage that you understand when you are in a hurry. Pressing the right button at the right time is a hospital intensive care unit is crucial to saving lives. If there is doubt in any given situation you introduce the potential for a crisis. So UI is much more than if you can find your pulse on your smart phone. It is about preventing aircraft crashes and saving lives.
That is the reason for GDA Awards to place so much attention to this new discipline of UI. If you feel that your work in UI and UX deserves to be noticed, then please do send an application for the GDA User Interface Award. The deadline in the 9th May at 9 am UCT.
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