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Three Best Practices for User-Friendly GUIs

Three Best Practices for User-Friendly GUIs

Today’s GUI interfaces offer endless, feature-rich options. But keeping a GUI simple so that command and control room operators don’t make mistakes under critical and stressful conditions is key. CineMassive strategist, Business Development, Katie Barter offers the following advice:

1. The core principle of user-friendly GUI design is simplicity. Any extraneous controls or notifications must be systematically eliminated to reduce distractions and improve operator response time and accuracy. Form must follow function. When design is kept simple and shaped by the needs of the user, the resulting product will be functional, intuitive, and aesthetically pleasing.

2. The interface must also be purposefully designed with the user's execution objective in mind. To create a task-oriented GUI, it is critical to first answer two questions: what does the operator need to do, and what is the minimal information that he or she needs to take those actions? Only after answering these questions is it possible to create an interface that is truly useful to the operator.

3. Finally, with any GUI design, it is important to anticipate a spectrum of technical proficiencies, experience levels, and ages. Ensure that buttons are large and clear and that text is simple and legible. However well-crafted your design may be, do not simply assume that it will be intuitive to all users. Provide multiple ways of performing each function and include embedded tooltips and guides wherever possible.

Cindy Davis is a regular AV Technology magazine contributor. GUI image courtesy of the FDOC, featuring Jupiter.

Cindy Davis is the brand and content director of AV Technology. Davis enjoys exploring the ethos of experiential spaces as well as diving deep into the complex topics that shape the AV/IT industry. In 2012, the TechDecisions brand of content sites she developed for EH Publishing was named one of “10 Great Business Media Websites” by B2B Media Business magazine. For more than 20 years, Davis has developed and delivered multiplatform content for AV/IT B2B and consumer electronics B2C publications, associations, and companies. From 2000 to 2008, Davis was the publisher and editor-in-chief of Electronic House. From 2009 to present, as the principal of CustomMedia.Co, Davis developed content plans and delivered content for associations such as IEEE Standards Association and AVIXA, content marketing for Future Plc, and numerous AV/IT companies. Davis was a critical member of the AVT editorial team when the title won the “Best Media Brand” laurel in the 2018 SIIA Jesse H. Neal Awards. A lifelong New Englander, Davis makes time for coastal hikes with her husband, Gary, and their Vizsla rescue, Dixie, sailing on one of Gloucester’s great schooners, and sampling local IPAs.