My Applied Design of Software User Interfaces class is lots of fun, but turns out to be a lot more work than I had anticipated (No programming or math, this can’t take much time!). I’ve spent hours learning Fireworks and Illustrator, and gotten much better at mocking up user interfaces in the process. I’ve also found that staring at the screen for hours tweaking pictures seems to be a different level of eye stress than programming, presumably due to having to focus on the slightly bigger picture than a line of code at a time.
We’ve had three weekly assignments to mock up user interfaces (including preliminary conceptual designs, affinity designs, and user profiles) which are given in the form of project for our mock design companies, and the deliverables must be color printed and bound, which makes one take an extra level of pride in the work – more of the same pride that keeps one up way too late making final design fixes.
I thought I’d share one of my designs from the last homework assignment: it was to mock up a design for a handheld, touchscreen computer (tablet) that would assist users in their tour of an art museum. The screen at the right (click to enlarge) uses the device’s ability to know fairly precisely where it is to present only the art nearest the user, from which the user can select one for more information. There’s some things I don’t love about the design now that I’ve had more time to reflect, but I still like it. I learned a lot about Adobe Illustrator in creating the icons for the nav buttons on the left (even though they still look like they were drawn by a Quailtard) – I also learned that Illustrator can’t do angular gradients like that I had in mind for the radar button, so I had to resort to the Gimp for that.