HCI-670: User Interface Design for Informatics.


During an HCI-670: User Interface Design for Informatics course, learners apply principles of human factors engineering to the design of optimal user interfaces that improve clinical processes. Additionally, learners also examine clinical decision support and clinical workflow analysis, modeling, reducing data entry errors, and usability testing in efforts to improve the experience of end-users while prioritizing patient safety and the delivery of quality health care.

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What is a user interface (UI)?

The user interface (UI) is the point of human-computer interaction and communication in a device which can include display screens, keyboards, a mouse, or the appearance of a desktop. In short, the user interface is the way through which a user interacts with an application or a website.

What is user interface design?

User interface (UI) design is the process designers use to build interfaces in software or computerized devices, focusing on looks or style. UI design refers to graphical user interfaces and other forms. Thus, designers aim to create interfaces that users find easy to use and pleasurable.

Types of user interfaces

There are various types of user interfaces. These user interfaces include:

  • graphical user interface (GUI)
  • command-line interface (CLI)
  • menu-driven user interface
  • touch user interface
  • voice user interface (VUI)
  • form-based user interface
  • natural language user interface

4 Most important elements of a user interface.

1.       Input Controls

Input controls enable users to input information into the system. Therefore, you will need to use an input control if you need your users to enter some information.

2.       Navigation Components

Navigational components assist users to move around a product or website. Examples of common navigational components include tab bars on an iOS device and a hamburger menu on an Android.

3.       Informational Components

Informational components share information with users. This includes notifications, progress bars, message boxes, and pop-up windows.

4.       Containers

Containers hold related content together, such as accordions. An accordion refers to a vertically stacked list of items. It shows/hides functionality.


Tips to making great UI designs.

1.       Strive for consistency.

Consistent sequences of actions should be required in similar situations; identical terminology should be used in prompts, menus, and help screens; and consistent commands should be employed throughout.

2.        Enable frequent users to use shortcuts.

Abbreviations, function keys, hidden commands, and macro facilities are very helpful to an expert user because as the frequency of use increases, so do the user’s desires to reduce the number of interactions and to increase the pace of interaction.

3.       Provide informative feedback.

For every operator action, there should be some system feedback. Therefore, frequent and minor actions should have a modest response while infrequent and major actions should have a more substantial response.

4.        Design dialog to yield closure.

Sequences of actions should be organized into groups with a beginning, middle, and end. Most importantly, the informative feedback at the completion of a group of actions should give the operators the satisfaction of accomplishment.

5.        Provide simple error handling.

The user interface design of the system should be developed in such a way that the user cannot make a serious error. If an error is made, the system should be able to detect the error and offer simple, comprehensible mechanisms for handling the error.

6.       Permit easy reversal of actions.

This feature relieves anxiety since the user knows that errors can be undone; it thus encourages exploration of unfamiliar options.

7.        Support internal locus of control.

Experienced operators strongly desire the sense that they are in charge of the system and that the system responds to their actions. Therefore, design the system to make users the initiators of actions rather than the responders.

8.        Reduce short-term memory load.

The limitation of human information processing in short-term memory requires displays to be kept simple, multiple page displays are consolidated, window-motion frequency be reduced, and sufficient training time is allotted for codes, mnemonics, and sequences of actions.

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