I was reading an excellent article called “realism in UI design” over at ignore the code. It got me thinking about what makes for a beautiful user interface. By beautiful, I don’t mean eye candy – in fact, that’s the first mistake people make when I talk about beautiful user interfaces. When I talk beautiful in this respect, I’m talking perfect. A beautiful, or perfect user interface teams with the user to create a classic synergy – the whole exceeding the sum of the parts.
Within user interface design, there are two key elements:
- Function – what it does.
- Form – how it looks, and the emotional response it engenders from users.
Beautiful user interface design is not about form over function.
Beautiful user interface design is not about function over form.
Beautiful user interface design is not about form and function competing for equal attention.
Beautiful user interface design is about form and function working in a perfectly harmonious arrangement that lets the user work, without distraction, on what ve wants to work on. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s a staggeringly simple concept, and an amazingly difficult exercise in implementation.