Design ideas for more intuitive user interfaces

Do you know that kind of projects, when customers would like to have a new piece of software to replace their legacy system as quickly as possible? Often, the business logic of this application is specified by the development department, so it is totally clear what should happen under the hood. Unfortunately there’s a part, frequently nobody is thinking about, or if, the end-users are not involved: the graphical user interface.

Most likely, the result is a functionally working application with a non-intuitive user interface, which cannot guide the (maybe frustrated) end-users through the business processes or support them properly during their daily work.

So we decided to sketch some GUI mockups to show how (in our opinion) a more guiding and supportive application design could look like.

First of all, a short generic introduction of the applications purpose:

  • The main entities are projects, respectively belonging to a customer
  • A project has a specific state, depending on its processing progress
  • During a project’s life-cycle, several steps have to be done to finish it
  • Every end-user maintains many projects, increasing their amount daily

In most cases, a user wants to open a project he recently worked on or a project which was just created. More rarely, older project need to by found to continue work.

Extended dashboard and menu

Based on this information, the dashboard should be extended to provide easy access to the recent and the newly created projects. To be able to open them, regardless where the user has navigated to, these should also be accessible via drop down in the applications main menu.

dashboard

The advanced search, which is currently placed in the main menu and is the main project navigation tool, is moved to the dashboard so it can be used if necessary. To find older projects quickly, there is a quick search in the main menu bar.

Guide users through the process

Experience has shown that the project progress can usually processed step by step. Performing corrections or repeating a specific step is only needed in exceptional cases. Using an appropriate interface can lead the user through the several steps without losing the ability to jump back if urgently needed.

process

Improve printing functionality

Another important feature of the application is the printing functionality. At the moment, users have to select the desired documents by their name. Afterwards, they will be generated on the fly and sent to the printer afterwards. Generating the documents before selecting them could be a better approach, so users can preview each document and make a possibly better decision.

printing

Conclusion

With a few little improvements you can create a more intuitive user interface, which can help your users to do their daily work without frustration. Maybe the above ideas are useful when you need to create a UI for an application with a similar nature.

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