UX/UI Design and HMI Design

Are there still industrial and technology companies without software-based device control? Or that rely on applications and apps across their entire range of products and services? Every interface that people use to control machines is part of the digital corporate design! Through the further development of application program interfaces, the requirements of Industry 4.0, and all the Internet-based control and support solutions, UX/UI and HMI design is becoming an essential and brand-defining factor.

An essential component of integrated brand management.

How familiar we all are with the interfaces of standard software products! We can clearly assign many applications to software companies even without branding. What works on a large scale must also happen in the applications of B2B brands. This is how we at the B2B branding agency understand integrated brand management. But what does this mean for the digital design of user interfaces? And what should be taken into account for a positive user experience (UX)?

Even though we may not be aware of it, the the interaction between humans and machines is a part of our everyday lives, both in our private and business lives. Think of voice control with Siri, Alexa, and similar services, smart home solutions based on geodata or weather data, or automated dialog via chatbots in Messenger. And that’s not all … from wearables to self-driving cars, the possibilities are almost limitless. Human-machine interaction (HMI) opens up completely new possibilities in communication and interaction with customers and interested parties and is a key part of digitalization.

Good user experience (UX) = good brand experience

In our digital and branding agency, we focus on audio-visual presentation and usability for a professional brand image. When we create the interface design of an application, there is always a link to the brand experience. This is true regardless of whether we are dealing with internal target groups or external ones such as customers, suppliers, and partners.

In principle, the same applies to UI design and HMI design as to web design. First of all, the application must be “operable.” This means that the UI design or HMI design must ensure that the application functions optimally on different screen sizes and device types. That basically fulfills obligations. In addition, the HMI design or UI design must make operation intuitive and simple, so that the application is fun to use. For us as a B2B digital agency and branding agency, going the extra mile is that the HMI design or UI design makes the brand and its vision perceptible, recognizable, and tangible, and that the design fulfills the brand promise. After all, a good user experience (UX) has a direct positive impact on brand experience.

From fulfilling expectations to going the extra mile in UI design and HMI design.

Focus on the user

We place the users, their needs, their pain points, and their gain points along the customer journey at the center of our design solutions. This is particularly the case because technical solutions and applications are often subordinate to the IT department or other specialist departments of the company and are viewed purely in terms of functionality. This often means that these applications have little to do with the brand design, both visually and structurally. They tend to reflect internal structures, but are not geared towards customers and their needs or the customer journey.

Design speaks without words. The better it is understood, guides, and is appealing, the better it supports the brand. The more intuitive the handling of the respective user interface is, the higher its usage and thus customer loyalty. This brings us full circle to customer experience, customer touchpoints, and trust in a brand.

How are UI, GUI, and HMI connected?

GUI and HMI are complementary components of user interfaces (UI). In practice, GUIs are often used as part of the UI in HMIs. For example, modern smartphones often use graphical user interfaces (GUI) to allow users to interact with their devices. The HMI of an industrial automation system may also include a GUI that allows users to monitor and control processes.

UI, GUI, HMI. What is what?

UI (User Interface), GUI (Graphical User Interface), and HMI (Human-Machine Interface) are closely related concepts that play an important role in the world of interaction between humans and machines.

User interface (UI)

The UI refers to the interface through which a user interacts with a system, application, or device. This can be either a graphical user interface (GUI) or a text-based user interface. The UI includes all elements and interaction options that enable the user to communicate with the software or device.

Graphical user interface (GUI)

The GUI, or “graphical user interface,” is a specific type of UI in which the interaction between the user and the system takes place using graphical elements such as icons, buttons, windows, and menus. GUIs are more visually appealing and intuitive for users as they provide an easy-to-understand representation of functions and options.

Incidentally, the first GUIs were developed by Microsoft and Apple in the 1980s.

Human Machine Interface (HMI)

The HMI is the overall interface through which a human interacts with a machine or system. This can be a GUI, but also other forms of interaction, including voice control, gesture recognition, touchscreens, keyboards, and more. HMIs can be found in a variety of applications.

By the way, today, basically all industrial plants are equipped with HMIs.


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