Graphical Screen Design

One small but still essential component of graphical user interface design concerns the actual layout of elements on the screen. This is the realm of Graphical Design, and this topic presents some (but by no means all!) rudiments of screen layout.

Graphics design is a profession that takes years to learn and apply well. Still, a few simple concepts will help you overcome many graphical design flaws evident in many interfaces.



Topics covered

Required Readings

  1. Principles of Effective Visual Communication for GUI design, p.425-441, In Baecker, R., Grudin, J., Buxton, W., and Greenberg, S., eds (1995). Readings in Human Computer Interaction: Towards the Year 2000.  Morgan-Kaufmann.

In-class teaching tips

I use many examples of actual screen snapshots to illustrate the graphical design ideas of this topic. While most come from the sources below, virtually any screen can be analyzed and even re-designed during class time. I also ask the students to redesign the interface given in the exercise above both before and after this module. 

Additional Readings

  1. Designing visual interfaces: Communication oriented techniques. Mullet, K. and Sano, D. (1995)  Sunsoft Press.
  2. The Non-Designer's Design Book. Williams, Robin. (1994) Peachpit Press Inc.