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User Interface Design

We came to several crossroads when designing our interface. With more specifics on what to do and what not to do when designing an interface we could have saved a lot of time and had a much more polished product.

Design for the User

One of the key points the book makes is designing your program and your interface for the people who are going to be using it. I won’t go into too much detail because it is covered in the book, but here are the main ideas:
  1. Account for the physical constraints of your user
  2. Account for the intellectual constraints of your user
  3. Account for the previous experiences of your user

Feedback

Not mentioned in the book is the concept of feedback. In order for the user to feel comfortable using a program he needs to know that he is using it correctly. Feedback gives the user that knowledge. When a user takes any action he needs to know it was carried out correctly. Examples in our game are:
  1. Changing the selected person changes the selected person information text.
  2. Selecting a person or item changes the target information text.
  3. Adding a person/item/room/building causes that new object to instantly show up on screen.
  4. When moving a character, the view changes to the characters new location.

Display Organization

In order to make your interface most efficient it needs to be easy to use, understand, and navigate. By organizing information properly it takes a load off of the user effectively making the interface more “user-friendly”. Here’s how to do it:
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