Visual Elements of User Interface Design

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  • Course and Specialization Overview
    • Welcome! In this first module I will summarize the assignments and expectations of this course, as well as the UI/UX Design Specialization.
  • What IS a user interface anyway?
    • In this first week we will look at some basic broad concepts and contexts for user interfaces, looking at examples both on and off-screen. We will look at basic principles of interaction theory, discuss the relationship between UI and UX, and examine the relationship between coding and designing. We will discuss the roles of functionality and aesthetics in interface design and outline a "form-first" philosophy to user interface design. This week will focus on background information and terminology and will give you the context and vocabulary necessary before you start making great interfaces!
  • Formal Elements of Interface Design
    • This week we are going to examine the various formal elements that make up an interface. We’ll start out with the larger questions of content, context and audience that frame any UI/UX project. In other words: What is it? Who is it for? And, where does it live? And we’ll look at the big picture of overall design direction, what is often referred to as “look and feel”. From there we’ll go into detail of how the basic components of how visual design works in the context of interface design: language, shape, color, imagery, typography, and icons. These areas will be the formal building blocks you will use to create the more complex visual structure of a screen-based user interface.
  • Active Elements of Interface Design
    • This week we are going to take our static interface elements and begin to think about how a user interacts with them. In other words, how to bring these elements a stage closer to having a life on the screen. We’ll be looking at navigational conventions, such as menus, buttons, and icons in different states. Our focus will move from what the graphic interface looks like, to include how it works and how it responds to the user. By adding interactivity to our static designs, the idea is to think more deeply about the role the designer plays in shaping a user’s interactive experience.
  • Composing the Elements of Interface Design
    • This week we are going to take our individual interface components and see what happens when we try to put them together into a more complex structure. We’ll be looking at how to get our components to work harmoniously as a family, figuring out how hierarchy works in the interface, and discussing conventions and expectations of contemporary interface design. We’ll also be examining how to navigate to different screens and how to build visual relationships between different kinds of content within a single site. Finally, we’ll be discussing different platforms, how to create variable content for different screen sizes, and looking at how to organize complex bodies of content into user-friendly structures.