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1.2. Graphical User Interface Design

Learning Objectives

You will be able...

  • ...to name the main principle of User-Centered-Design.
  • ...to list at least four of the "Golden GUI Design Rules".
  • ...to list the four GUI control groups.
  • ...to list the four ways to catch the user's attention.


Designing a user interface may seem a simple and side aspect of the development of an entire application. In fact it is, perhaps, the most important part of the development of an application.

Marinilli says: "Designing professional user interfaces is not only a matter of a good graphic artist and some good ideas. Unfortunately, people creating user interfaces just go for a product, without even being aware of the basics or the theoretical principles behind it." (Marinilli 2002)

When designing a user interface you always have to be aware that you create a product that is used by other people. Often, designers are too busy to create an award-winning, cool product without being aware that the product may be a complete mystery and unusable for the end users.

A user intreface must be user-friendlyA user intreface must be user-friendly (Schnabel 2008)

This unit will deal with some of the theory behind quality user interfaces, especially graphical user interfaces. We will show you what GUI controls exist and how you can get the user's attention on the screen.

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