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Design for IT - GUI, Web and Flash


Information Technology uses graphic design in many different ways : from hardware design (with luminaries such as Apple), through to interface design, such as those in-game heads-up displays found in video games. Every commercial product has the potential to fail due to bad graphic design.

Programmers, however, are not usually good designers, and designers are not always programmers. This can create issues, especially in software and web site design, since the two areas are very diverse and specialised.

Working together is easier if everyone knows what they are trying to achieve. That process begins with knowing what the technology can provide, and what is available to implement the designers whim.

Software Development Ecommerce Solution Web Development

GUI Design

The GUI (Graphical User Interface) consists of windows, icons, cursers, borders, scrollbars and buttons. Each of these contributes to the look and feel of a software application. Microsoft, for example, has invested a lot of time and effort in their flagship products look and feel, with some success. Each product looks and feels familiar.

Beyond these elements, there are advanced GUI widgets such as gauges and animated icons which also provide an alternative way to either give information to the user or elicit information from them. The success of these elements is very much in the hands of the design team.

The GUI is the interface to the application. The application, in turn, offers a specific service, and the form that the GUI takes should follow the function that it provides. In addition, there may be different platform considerations to take into account which will place restrictions on the GUI design.

Web Design

One such area is in web design. By the very nature of the world wide web, a page may be accessed by one of a number of different browsers, running on platforms with a variety of available GUI styles.

Since a web page is just an interface to information or a service, the GUI principles mentioned above need to be respected. However, the web is also a publishing environment, so basic typographical and layout principles must be adhered to.

This means that colour usage, screen dimensions, and resolutions will all play a bigger part than when designing an application for a specific platform. In order to make sure that all these are catered for, designers will need to be aware of the aesthetic as well as the functional and practical sides of the design process.


Adobe Flash inhabits a place somewhere between an application and a web page; it is a product that can be used in almost every situation. It is a GUI, a publishing environment and an application, all in one package.

The power that Flash offers means that the interpreter needs to be installed as a browser extension on every platform that will access the web page on which the Flash application resides. It can, however, also be packaged up and installed as a stand-alone product. This takes advantage of the write once, run anywhere, philosophy that stems from being an internet-deployed product.

Uses for Flash applications (or applets) include interactive content for the web, games, interactive catalogues shipped on free CDs and even business applications. The key to understanding Flash is to see it as an interactive version of the web : delivering content using a GUI.


So, in order to leverage the power of software applications or the world wide web, it is important to choose the appropriate platform. Individual contractors will probably offer the one that they are familiar with, and some will offer a variety, giving different scenarios for each implementation.

Once the choice of platform has been made, they will need to liaise with design teams to get the right look and feel. Remember – a product or web site has the potential to fail if based on a bad design.

Additional tutorials on Website Design

Website Design tutorials.