What is UI?

UI – Stands for User Interface. The user interface is the area with which a user interacts with something through a digital device. Good UI should be fluid and easy for most people to understand.

A user interface (UI) is a conduit between human and computer interaction – the space where a user will interact with a computer or machine to complete tasks. The purpose of a UI is to enable a user to effectively control a computer or machine they are interacting with, and for feedback to be received in order to communicate effective completion of tasks.

A successful user interface should be intuitive (not require training to operate), efficient (not create additional or unnecessary friction) and user-friendly (be enjoyable to use).

A Graphical User Interface (GUI) is specifically for software. It utilizes generated UI elements such as text, links, buttons, and images to construct a design system that forms the user experience. When we refer to a UI in Software Design, Digital Design, Web Design or UX Design, we usually mean a graphical user interface.

GUI Programs

A typical GUI of a software program includes a menu bar, toolbar, windows, buttons, and other controls. The Macintosh and Windows operating systems have different user interfaces, but they share many of the same elements, such as a desktop, windows, icons, etc. These common elements make it possible for people to use either operating system without having to completely relearn the interface. Similarly, programs like word processors and Web browsers all have rather similar interfaces, providing a consistent user experience across multiple programs.


Most hardware devices also include a user interface, though it is typically not as complex as a software interface. A common example of a hardware device with a user interface is a remote control. A typical TV remote has a numeric keypad, volume and channel buttons, mute and power buttons, an input selector, and other buttons that perform various functions. This set of buttons and the way they are laid out on the controller make up the user interface. Other devices, such as digital cameras, audio mixing consoles, and stereo systems also have a user interface.

While user interfaces can be designed for either hardware or software, most are a combination of both. For example, to control a software program, you typically need to use a keyboard and mouse, which each have their own user interface. Likewise, to control a digital camera, you may need to navigate through the on-screen menus, which is a software interface. Regardless of the application, the goal of a good user interface is to be user-friendly. After all, we all know how frustrating it can be to use a device that doesn’t work the way we want it to.

In UX Design, a user interface and the resulting behaviors are an end output of the design process. User interfaces can be visualized in many ways and in many degrees of fidelity. On the web, user interfaces are usually rendered as HTML & CSS, and in native applications using native or custom libraries. A design system is often visualized as a collection of UI elements that define guidelines for building a user experience within a given platform.

A UI Designer will often use visualization software to conceive a UI before it is built-in code. UI Design is a large part of what we do at Every Interaction every project we work on involves UI Design.


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