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What does an Interface Designer do?

G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen

An interface designer typically works to create interfaces, usually a user interface (UI), for various software programs and Internet websites. This involves understanding different aspects of human behavior, usability, and the ways in which people tend to view and interact with technology. The designer will typically begin with an overall concept or design for how an interface should look and function, and then work to develop and create the interface, either alone or with a team of other UI developers. An interface designer will also frequently work with others to test an interface during development to ensure proper usability.

The various tasks and duties of an interface designer revolve around the design and development of a UI for a program or webpage. The UI for a piece of software or website is the way in which users of that program or visitors to a site interact with and use that software, and this typically involves a graphical user interface (GUI). An interface designer begins with a concept for the UI or GUI, often created in rough form on paper or using graphic software to create a mock up in a computer. This is then presented to a client and work is done to create a concept that meets the needs and desires of a software developer or website owner.

Woman shopping
Woman shopping

Once an idea is approved, the interface designer will then typically work either alone or with a team to fully develop and actualize the entire interface. This typically involves various iterations of a concept, often trying different colors and layouts to find the ideal design for the interface. Many interface designers will also work with various testing methods including paper prototyping and alpha and beta testing to ensure a final product that is easy to use. When this is done as part of a team, an interface designer may also work as the team manager and oversee the tasks completed by others on the team.

An interface designer can work with a client throughout a project, receiving feedback and altering the interface as necessary, in order to produce a final product that satisfies the needs and preferences of the client. This entire process can also vary depending on any work done before an interface designer was hired on. If an older interface is being revamped, for example, then the designer will typically work with the original interface when creating the final product. An entirely new interface will often have different requirements than adding to an older design, though the overall process is often similar.

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Discussion Comments


Who do interface designers work for? Do they have their own firms or do they mostly work for software companies? Is it a team kind of thing or do they work independently?


I love to use an Apple computer and then use a PC and compare the graphical user interface design. They are similar in a lot of ways and also fundamentally different from each other. In most people minds it is the interface design much more than any feature or strength that defines the difference in the two operating systems.


An interface designer might sound like a pretty obscure job but when you think about it there are interfaces everywhere. Just think about a trip to the grocery store.

You go in and hit up the ATM which has its own screen and at least 4 or 5 pages of information you have to navigate through.

After you get your money you go shopping. You walk up to an electronic kiosk that offers recipe advice and you look up a recipe for fish on another interface.

You end by going through the self checkout machine which has yet another interface and if you use a debit card there is another interface still. They are everywhere. Interface designers play a bigger role in our lives than we realize.

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