“User Interface” (UI) allows us to navigate a site with controls that work a certain way, hopefully the way we intuitively expect them to.
User Interface (UI) Design focuses on anticipating what users might need to do and ensuring that the interface has elements that are easy to access, understand, and use to facilitate those actions. (Usability.gov)
I’ve found that generally web site UI and game UI can be sometimes quite different. For example, whereas on a web site, you need to read what it says on the control buttons before you click them to ensure you are doing the right thing, game controls are more intuitive (or less, for me) and that is why you can give an iPad or iPhone game to children and they intuitively know which buttons to press or that they need to shake the phone, etc. — all the time while I am trying to read the HOW TO PLAY instructions.
A bad UI can mean frustration and mistakes. Does the ENTER key allow me to go to another line in what I’m typing or does it send my text even before I have completed it? And what with the supposedly newfound design of hiding controls until you need them? That used to be mightily frowned upon when I was designing UI because it resulted in frantic calls from users who couldn’t find where to click.
But some UI are just too complicated. That is where and how Apple quickly took over a large chunk of Microsoft user base when it introduced ONE WAY TO DO THINGS AND IT IS MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY design. However, that one way was mighty good and just what 99.99% of us needed 99.99% of the time. Now, however, even Apple is falling to design-itis and its UI is getting mighty complicated.
So, if you are not feeling frustrated enough, here is a UI game called User Inyerface that challenges you to simply fill in a form with your personal info (like when you are registering for something, and no, you shouldn’t enter real personal info, fake info is fine) in as little time as possible. It took me 00:09:09 to complete it, and I was about to give up a couple of times. If you want to get to Alfonso Ribeiro doing his famous Carlton Dance at the end as the ultimate reward, you need to persevere and fnish the game (TIP: slow down, take a breath of air to calm down, scroll up, read the fine prints).
Try User Inyerface