6 Ways to Rethink Your Interface Design

May 22

Written by: Heather L. Sidorowicz
5/22/2014 10:48 AM  RssIcon

I recently had the opportunity to view interfaces (GUIs) from around the globe, from small companies to large companies, and you know what? We can do better. I get it; we are not graphic designers, but we certainly can instill ideas of graphic design into the one part of the system the client interacts with. Be it a remote, touch screen, or a tablet, we need to raise the bar.

Step into the Light

Lose the black background. It is dark and murky; it makes many colors and icons hard to see, and frankly, it is outdated. Look around at the design of the house, besides the theater itself, and most walls and rooms are not dark. They are clean and bright, inviting your touchscreen to be the same and complement the home.

 TV, music
 A picture icon is worth a thousand words. GUI by NTDesigns

Icons People

From youngsters to a baby boomers (whose eyesite may be not what it used to be), icons are easier to understand. Is it easier to hit a picture of a music note or a button that says, “Streaming?” Of course, we know what steaming means, but does the nanny, the wife, or the husband? Take a step back from our jargon and make it simpler. This goes for lighting design, too. Installing a lighting system with lots of buttons that are hardly readable is no better than installing a bank of light switches across the wall.

Less is More

Just because you may want to adjust the color and hue of your new flat screen every other day does not mean the client does. Look at each page of your interface as an advertisement or a billboard—you only have three seconds to read it. Now decide what buttons you really need. If you just have to add all the buttons that the AVR remotes comes with, add a hidden or extra page and keep it out of site for the most part. Keep each page clean.

Backgrounds should also be simple without the addition of fancy photos behind the buttons for they make everything harder to read. If the client demands his new car or a family photo be a part of the interface, then place it next to the buttons, not behind it. Let your screens breath.
 
 
Blueprints are for Architects and Builders

There is a reason people go have to go to school to learn to design and read blueprints, and it is not so they can put them on a touchscreen. Find a better way to convey the message, for this is your canvas.

Create the Home Page for the Home

Your main home screen should give “at-a-glance” information. Depending on your client's needs, this will change. If they commute, then traffic RSS feeds may be important. If you live in Buffalo, then you’ll want to know today’s weather (this time of year it could be 30 degrees or 80 degrees depending on the day). Should your client be a surfer on the coast of California, then he may desire a wave report (I’m sure such a thing exists, right?). Talk to your client and make their life better with this new amazing technology. Give them the information before they have to ask. (NOTE: If you have sold a system that cannot give this information cleanly and simply, don’t “make” it work. Leave it be.)
 
GUI by NTDesigns 
 
 
Buy the Brilliance

If you’re not a designer at heart, then subcontract or purchase it from someone who is. There are some amazing companies out there that “get it,” and can offer a better experience to your clients. Companies like NTDesigns offer stunning themes for purchase, and before you think you cannot afford it, there are some Crestron themes for only $199.

Companies like Fregosa Designs can take over the whole program for you from afar (See Todd Puma’s blog: Choosing the Right Third-Party Programming Partners). You’ve worked hard selling, designing, installing this amazing system that practically defies gravity, and now there is nothing wrong with using experts to be the ‘icing on the cake,’ and blowing away your clients expectations.
 
As an Industry, we can do better when it comes to the one part of the system the client actual touches. I am sure there are some amazing designs out there that I have not had the pleasure of experiencing, but as a trade, we need to improve. Rethinking your interface will not only up your game for your clients but will improve and grow the industry as a whole. Let’s agree to do better.
 
Heather L. Sidorowicz is the president of Southtown Audio Video in Hamburg, NY.


Your name:
Gravatar Preview
Your email:
(Optional) Email used only to show Gravatar.
Your website:
Title:
Comment:
Security Code
CAPTCHA image
Enter the code shown above in the box below
Add Comment   Cancel 

 

Archive
<October 2014>
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2829301234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930311
2345678
Monthly
October, 2014 (1)
September, 2014 (21)
August, 2014 (13)
July, 2014 (15)
June, 2014 (12)
May, 2014 (12)
April, 2014 (14)
March, 2014 (15)
February, 2014 (14)
January, 2014 (24)
December, 2013 (11)
November, 2013 (12)
October, 2013 (15)
September, 2013 (19)
August, 2013 (18)
July, 2013 (19)
June, 2013 (12)
May, 2013 (18)
April, 2013 (17)
March, 2013 (13)
February, 2013 (16)
January, 2013 (26)
December, 2012 (9)
November, 2012 (11)
October, 2012 (16)
September, 2012 (11)
August, 2012 (15)
July, 2012 (13)
June, 2012 (8)
May, 2012 (9)
April, 2012 (10)
March, 2012 (7)
February, 2012 (11)
January, 2012 (14)
December, 2011 (5)
November, 2011 (12)
October, 2011 (8)
September, 2011 (4)
August, 2011 (7)
July, 2011 (11)
June, 2011 (12)
May, 2011 (8)
April, 2011 (6)
March, 2011 (9)
February, 2011 (10)
January, 2011 (9)
December, 2010 (4)
November, 2010 (7)
October, 2010 (4)
September, 2010 (9)
August, 2010 (7)
July, 2010 (8)
June, 2010 (12)
May, 2010 (6)
April, 2010 (8)
March, 2010 (10)
February, 2010 (11)
January, 2010 (1)
December, 2009 (6)
November, 2009 (6)
October, 2009 (11)
September, 2009 (6)
August, 2009 (4)
July, 2009 (4)
June, 2009 (5)
May, 2009 (7)
April, 2009 (9)
March, 2009 (7)
February, 2009 (9)
January, 2009 (8)
December, 2008 (9)
November, 2008 (6)
October, 2008 (7)
September, 2008 (7)
August, 2008 (3)
July, 2008 (5)
May, 2008 (1)
April, 2008 (4)
March, 2008 (3)
February, 2008 (5)
January, 2008 (2)
November, 2007 (1)
October, 2007 (4)
September, 2007 (2)
August, 2007 (3)
July, 2007 (4)
June, 2007 (6)
May, 2007 (6)
April, 2007 (4)
March, 2007 (4)

 

Skip Navigation Links.
Skip Navigation Links.
download

Are Apps Squeezing Programmers Out?
Read More»
By John Sciacca

Is the iPod Dock a Dying Product Category?
Read More»
By Todd Anthony Puma

Sometimes the Chance Encounters at CEDIA EXPO are What Matters Most
Read More»
By Todd Anthony Puma

CEDIA 2014: The Next Wave in Surround Sound Recap
Read More»
By John Sciacca

Jumping Down the Rabbit Hole: Updating to iOS8
Read More»
By Heather L. Sidorowicz

Slide Show

In this CEDIA Designer Award for Best Hidden Installation, integrator  ...
Slide Show

The primary objective in creating this theater by Encore Custom Audio Video, of...
Slide Show

This Home Theater Level 2: $101,000 to $150,000 project from Tec...
Slide Show

This private theater from AV Works, Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada, won the Gol...
Slide Show

This Home Theater Level 5: $361,000 to $999,000 Gold Award winner from Hom...
Re: Defensive Affixes of the monsters
Read More»
Re: Boxer how to play the second stage of the asura tower
Read More»
Re: Many choice make guild wars 2 rangers war pet paradise
Read More»
fifa 15 coins Ce marathon n'a rien d'une course normale telle
Read More»
you necessary tools for your Xbox swtor credits for sale
Read More»
Expert Progression Football 20 is on its way within The fall of
Read More»
I merely acquired in to Fifa world cup at the start of the season coupled
Read More»
Purchase fifa 15 cash playstation 3
Read More»
Suarez was fifa 15 coins xbox one not in action at the 2007 South
Read More»
Ways to use 8% discount code SEP8OFF for buying cheapest wow gold from safewow
Read More»