Customer Acceptance of an app depends on how intuitive and effortless it is to get up to speed and to use. Ken has lead software app design teams and creates his own apps.

UI/UX App Design

An Approach to UI/UX Design


Taking a user-centric view in application design. Since the early days leading software development teams at Software Publishing Corporation (Harvard Graphics),Ken’s emphasis has been on building usable app solutions. There is no benefit in creating apps that users simply avoid using. Prior to joining SPC years ago, He learned that the Data General approach of stuffing massive amounts of product features wasn’t always the best way to design software apps.



Effortless Software Design Life cycle


Building a software app isn’t easy. Getting everyone to agree on how to squeeze power and features into  user interface elements can prove more stressful than actually writing code.


Jumping directly from initial concept to code usually results in wasted time, effort, and money. A user-centric approach needs to start with an understanding of the user persona coupled with an iterative, adapting sequence of design and verification. This process incorporates a wild selection of tools and techniques ranging from storyboards, stand-ups. customer interviews, sketches, wireframes, and throwaway demos.

It doesn’t have to be a waste of time for the team either. As the user interface/user experience (UI/UX) work transitions through its design life cycle and stabilizes, product owners can prepare for launch, programmers can develop computational and underlying code, and testers can set up their test suites.


Solving a Problem with an App


Ken, like many digital creative freelancers, needed version control management to organize project work at key milestones. With programmers relying on Subversion (SVN) and Git, he attempted writing a book explaining how creative professionals could use Git:

After 50+ pages, he gave up. There was no way to make a software tool (or Git apps) easy for Photoshop, Camtasia, or InDesign users to use. It must be time to create an app!




Stepping Through a UI/UX Design



The “must-have” requirements for the app drives the UI/UX design:

  1. Intuitive for barely-technical users to learn and use
  2. Minimum clicks/taps to perform basic version control tasks
  3. The app’s main window shows visual cues for three features: project setup, project save, and project restore
  4. Integrated assistance and help


After several iterations, a combination of storyboards and sketches resulted in the following visual design that supports these requirements:


Does the visual design support those requirements?

  1. Most everything that the app needs to present to a user fits on a single main window. Check!
  2. To do basic version control actions, there is a project drop-down selector and action buttons. Check!
  3. The four action buttons are visually appealing and minimal command text. Check!
  4. Help is just a click away: app preferences, welcome tour, and complete app assistance. Check!


Once the app’s visual design was approved by the end-user and other critical stakeholders, the magic of development took over producing the final product:

Spresso iVersionIt’s main window emphasizes a clear and simple app:

UI/UX work has to take into account user flow, tab order, language (not every user speaks English!), and placement of operating system specific controls:

Finally, an app needs to be designed in a way so that the UI/UX and coding can be platform-independent. The Spresso iVersionIt app (and all of its windows and dialog boxes) relies on a single code base that can be built for either Windows or macOS:





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