Blurred backgrounds with transparent widgets is a rising web design trend. What I like about this concept, except the elegant look, is the visual effect of multiple layers. This can be a great way to display content on gesture based user interfaces without risking the orientation, just like the notification center in ios7 slides down and blurs the background. You know where you came from and you know how to get back there. My only concern with blurred backgrounds is the noise factor since it's hard to focus on the content in some of the examples presented in this overall inspiring article.
This article clarifies why it's so important to design invisible user interfaces, or at least interfaces that doesn't steal all the attention and require more effort to navigate than necessary. First of all we must ask ourselves: what's the purpose of our digital work? We want to satisfy people's needs by making it possible for them to achieve their goals, right - and this is made by delivering some kind of content like text or multimedia. In my world user interfaces exist to enable us to find and interact with content. That's why I think well designed UIs should complement the content and not the other way around. It doesn't make it less important though, it should still inspire, guide and simplify user journeys.
Interaction by gestures have a physical prize, people get exhausted by using the tiny muscles involved in pointing, swiping and zooming. Sounds like a problem for developed countries right? However, from a usability point of view all types of user effort should be minimized.
"Make it so" is a book that explores relationships between interaction design and science fiction. Many futuristic movies introduced us to interfaces of the future. Star ships with interactive 3d projections and transparent office walls with touch screens are brilliant innovations seen in movies before humans could realize it. Maybe we can find inspiration in the brilliant minds of movie making?
Flat web design obviously has benefits for both web and mobile users. Grid based layouts are scalable and easy to choreograph, modular graphics maximize both visual surfaces and interactive areas, and distinct typography is readable on small screens. On the other hand, it's also a challenge because flat web design is (almost) a completely web based design language. It feels like Internet grew some confidence as a virtual reality, and decided to break free from the limitations of our natural environment. So in contrast to skeuomorphism, it lacks references outside the digital domain like textures, buttons, depths and shadows. And if the design patterns are not mapped to the users' previous knowledge intuition will be lost. Consequently, I'm waiting for the world to decide if it's is just a trend that will pass by or if it's a new web standard. Is it time to let go of old notions, accept the digital medium and base graphics on design languages like flat web design?
Here is a fantastic set of free UI components from Designmodo. The style is inspired by modern web design languages, with a modular layout and distinct typography. I think it's both visually pleasant and easy to understand, which is a combination we can't get enough of today. Large interactive areas for small screens and gesture based interfaces along with high contrasts, subtle tool bars, clear symbols and wisely used colors definitely support an intuitive and exciting experience.
The UI (user interface) is a key feature in order to create a successful user experience. It's built upon content and site architecture to support perception and interaction. I really like Microsoft's design language called "Metro", which is inspired by information systems of transportation nodes. This article describes the how it can be used as a UI concept.
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