I spend a lot of time developing software and it means that I have to put far too much effort into designing the UI. I don’t really like UI design because I prefer the actual backend programming because it is far more interesting. I tend to be incredibly lazy when it comes to design.
Over the last few years we’ve had loads of new design technologies that have made it easier to develop great user interfaces for our applications. Microsoft adopts an XML based markup language whereas Apple still maintains its Interface Builder which hasn’t really changed too much since the last 1990s. Other systems adopt similar technologies.
I’ve recently noticed that animation has become a more prominent thing in UI design. Many smartphone apps tend to animate between screens by sliding or flipping and websites are gradually adopting animation between states. Sometimes this works very effectively but most of the time people will go over the top.
UI animation is only really useful if it adds something to the UI and doesn’t slow down the application. I am concerned that with the introduction of CSS3 and other technologies animation is going to become more commonplace as bad UI designers add it to almost everything – it will be like Flash all over again.
I personally don’t use animation at all, but that probably stems from the fact that I prefer the actual programming to the UI design. When working on projects I generally employ a 10:1 ratio of programming time to design time purely because it means my apps generally run better.