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22

I often get annoyed by custom UI's, but when I see the default skin used anywhere other than the OS windows I find it really ugly. I suppose custom UI's are better, as long as you leave the title bar alone. So only skin your controls, etc. Don't overdo it, though. It's not an album cover, you don't want your UI to catch peoples eyes. It just has to work ...


9

Disclaimer: I'm not an iOS/Android developer. I have, however, designed a user interface, in Cocoa, for Apple desktop computers, that completely ignored the standard Apple user interface guidelines. It was a custom point-of-sale touch screen interface, completely customized for cashiers who would interact with the software by touching the screen with their ...


8

The Apple folks are famous for taking away every possible feature and really focussing on a few things. I'd suggest following their lead. Daring Fireball has quite good piece on the Apple mantra: We can put all of our products on the table you’re sitting at. Those products together sell $40 billion per year. No other company can make that claim except ...


7

With the iPhone, the advantage of having all the settings in the Settings.app is clear - the user knows exactly where to find the settings. There are also big disadvantages, which has meant that in practice almost no apps do this anymore. The first is that you are a little limited by what you can put in the settings, and doing things like validation on ...


7

An icon is necessarily an abstraction of an idea which means that the farther removed the abstraction is from the reality the more confusing the icon will be. Representing cutting by a scissors icon makes sense because the word "cut" is being represented by the icon rather than the act of "removing something from a within a given context and storing it in ...


7

Consistency is a big pointer to something being professional and polished. Make sure all your icons are a the same size and properly lined up. Use a consistent font and text size throughout. Make sure that if there are options to change font sizes that they affect all text items. Make sure that changing the colour scheme affects all items consistently. I ...


7

I believe that the users should be able to recognize your site/service at a glance. The colors and fonts are part of your branding and should usually be kept constant, except, perhaps if your site performs a service that's supposed to be user-specific (or any other third-parties) and you want to let them express themselves. Take YouTube for example - a ...


6

Speaking as an iOS developer, there are a number of ways to slightly customize the default widgets (tintColor on a navigation bar, for example) that are easy to implement without opening the can of worms that is fully custom UI. Keep in mind that the default widgets have a lot of functionality built in. You don't want to be reinventing the wheel. (You'll be ...


6

It depends on your ability. If you do a custom UI, you have to be really good at it. A custom UI done badly will just frustrate and lose the users.


5

Google calls their seasonal holiday logos "doodles", and in the absence of a better term, I'll refer to them as doodles, too. This may seem like fluff, but it occurred to me that our call-centre employees—users of the software on which I currently work—might benefit from doodles that reflect our employers' current marketing campaign. Especially when the ...


5

I don't think it necessary or even worth it. The floppy icon just means "save". Even my kids who have never used a floppy disk know that it means save. They don't necessarily know that it once represented the medium to which we saved data. Take another example "cut". This is often represented by a pair of scissors - it certainly is in Word 2007. This ...


5

Widgets or Portlets are both often used to describe these.


5

Sometimes, giving the user straight options won't help. For example - I could be a real-estate agent on a tour (making me both a tourist and a real-estate agent), so which one should I chose on your site? The "thing" you need here is a Natural language UI, give the user a short paragraph, let him fill in some blanks that best describes his visit to the ...


4

The 'skinning' concept is something MS has pushed throughout most of the .net frameworks and IDEs. The main concern I have with it is that most of the default themes MS provides are terrible. They tend to lack meaningful emphasis, over-use contrast, and just tend to generally add to chart junk. Personally, enabling custom skinning of your UI should be the ...


4

Yes. If you assume you know what the right colors for everone are, then you are naive. Different people need different color themes depending on: Their vision The surrounding lighting (see these two answers: TVs, Sunlight) The specific content they are looking at (e.g. uniform colored text vs graphics or multi colored text) and even their mood. Look at ...


4

Why not make the main page do the separation for you? Use nice big box/tiles/whatever to let the user decide why they are there on the site. Here is how codeacademy labs divides it language platforms: Here is how cydia lets you setup your environment based on your area of interest:


4

Let's split the problem: users can ask for design customization, and interface elements customization (like MS Word in the late nineties, see what I mean?). From my point of view, the former is one the most normal and legitimate needs of human beings. People like to have their own look, but this doesn't mean that you should give full customization power ...


3

Adapting the UI for the holidays serves probably very well the online retailers. The best example is Amazon.com which decorates every year its UI for Christmas. For my part, I tend to spend more when I'm in a "Christmas mood". For instance, as soon as I decorate my apartment for this time of the year, I'm sure my spending behaviors change. Maybe the ...


3

One of the fun ones is the VLC app icon (a road safety cone). In December, it dons a santa hat. Subtlety is the key to making it successful. You probably don't want to cover your home page with a cheesy snow-globe effect, for instance.


3

Well, for users with visual impairments it may be a deciding factor in whether or not they use your software. If windows themes are not applied to your software, it is important to offer high contrast settings. Anything beyond high contrast themes is probably just an initiative of your marketing department, but I haven't seen any research on cosmetic ...


3

Mr Nielson did a study into the customisation which gave some pretty interesting feedback. Customization of UIs and Products The main gist of the research was that if you're going to include customization make sure you do it properly, as if it is overly complex then it will confuse users. Also, many people won't even bother with the customisation ...


3

As a rule of thumb, professional means clean and simple. Regarding Animation - it really depends on the application. Animation often implies applications that are more casual, so it would work great for games or consumer applications. If we're talking about enterprise software, it might not be appropriate. I think http://soluto.com/ is a great desktop ...


3

Ask your users! :) Why not do an exercise where you ask your users (the ones who actually add captions to their photos) to go through 50 of their photos and tell you all the captions they have used and the frequency of each one? I also wonder how many times I would want to add the same caption to multiple photos (except may be great photo). Captions are ...


3

Yahoo might be calling them Content Boxes: Google calls them Gadgets:


3

If you're using skinned inputs and other form elements I think an unskinned drop down breaks the flow. The important thing to keep in mind is accessibility from a development perspective. All actions with a faux dropdown should make use of native form actions with the default select. You should never break default behavior just to have something look ...


3

I propose to use colon symbol (:) for loops. It contains appropriate semantics: A colon is used to explain or start an enumeration. So, try {clients:} instead. The ending tag could be: {clients.} – save semantics, but maybe not very visible {:clients} – more consistent with starting tag


2

As far as Android apps go I'm normally more impressed with apps which use the default UI widgets and then skin them to fit the brand of the company/app. For example the official Facebook and official Twitter apps look very similar, which is intentional as they both use the same UI controls, just with different skins. Deviating too much from the default UI ...


2

People like good looking things. A good looking app will sell more than a similar ugly app, people are even more forgiving about bugs in good looking app. But: The custom UI must look good and "feel" good It must be similar enough to the standard UI so it's still familiar There is a lot of logic in even the simplest control - either use a system that let ...


2

Purely from a user's perspective: I hate custom GUI's. They almost never have the advantages that authors think they have. Examples: iTunes (on Windows), Zune, Apple QuickTime, many iPhone/Android apps, etc... The only good examples I have for custom interfaces are games - there I accept it. Everywhere else, in most all cases, we could have gone without the ...


2

As has already been pointed out, consistency is important - not just in terms of appearance, but in terms of behaviour. There are times though, when deliberate breaking of consistency is not just a good idea, but necessary. Part of achieving a "Professional and Polished" look is knowing when to do this. Examples: On StackExchange sites, the "Ask a ...



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