You are sitting round a table with a group of new friends. Super evening, wonderful atmosphere, elegant wines. Someone asks, "so, what's your job"? You say "I design interface." There are blank faces all round. A few open mouths. What on earth is an interface designer??
Given that most of our world, from smart phones, to medical equipment, to machines, to aircraft are all totally dependent on the users being able to actually use them, it's surprising that the designers who have that skill are almost invisible. UI and UX are often associated with digital tech devices like phones and on-screen commands such as click and swipe. Yet most devices have several layers of interface. A swipe also has a sound. A physical button has a tactile response and a light. In fact most control methods are all a mix of doing something tactile, like moving a finger, then sound, then visual. So an interface designer is more of a composer of multi layers of response.
If that multi-level discipline were not enough, the interface designer also has to have a good grasp of human psychology. Are people of all types, social groups, cultures and generations actually going to understand what is going on? Can my Granny understand my latest design? That is an awesome test for any designer. It is in recognition of these challenges faced by interface designers that GDA Awards draws so much attention to the skill and discipline needed. The GDA Interface Award is a separate category of award that aims to give much needed recognition to this field of design. Send in your applications now. The deadline is the 9th May.
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