How Qt Application Development Helps You Craft Stunning UI Across Platforms
In the current digital landscape, it has become inevitable for businesses to offer exceptional user experiences through their products to delight customers. Companies like Disney, Tesla and Amazon have cracked the code to accomplish this. The legions of loyal customers that their products have amassed is testimony to the importance of delivering a great UX.
In this article, we will explore the Human Machine Interface (HMI) design considerations for exceptional UX. We will also highlight how Qt application development helps engineers to create sensational HMIs across platforms easily.
Designing an Intuitive HMI/UI for Delivering Great UX
In theory, User Experience (UX) on a platform is based on the presentation, performance, interactive features, assistive behaviour, branding, and even the user’s state of mind. Since UX encompasses a wide range of criteria, often involving the user’s feelings and emotions, the job of a UX designer is not easy.
A great UX is not just based on usability or simplicity. It should contribute to the user’s feeling of accomplishment and discovery while substantiating the cost of the product. It should give the user control of the application while retaining important information. For instance, consider the auto-recovery feature in Microsoft Word. Don’t we all agree that it is an absolute necessity?
Embedded product development is an integral part of an IoT solution. With advancements in IoT technology, people have grown to expect a smashing user interface for even the most basic connected product. Hence, while designing and developing these products, it is essential to rely on product development frameworks such as Qt to ease the process of crafting an impressive HMI.
Challenges in Designing UI Architecture for Embedded Devices
- Complex UI specifications
- Large number of developers within the team
- Many hardware dependencies, especially in automotive industry
- Scale to manage multiple backends
- Limited development time
- Low productivities
HMI/UI Design Best Practices
- Evaluate User Requirements – The first step in the design of a great HMI starts with the evaluation of user needs. You should also understand how users perform each task and in what order. Check out existing products of similar nature and assess the problems faced by users when interacting with these products. This will help you gain a good understanding of the desires of the user, which may otherwise, be difficult for them to express clearly.
- Design the HMI Look and Feel – The next step is to decide the workflow of the application and the appearance of the HMI. You should also consider the operating environment of the product. For instance, if the application is running in an environment with a lot of background noise, then it doesn’t make sense to design audible alerts for the user. Another example related to the deployment of the application – If the app is being used globally, you need to understand whether web functionality or multiple language options are required.
- Pick the Right Tools – If the UI design and development environment is graphical, it will be a great advantage for the engineers. The tool will then inherently have an object-oriented approach to design and development of components. If there are no specifications on compatible hardware or operating system in the code, it can also be easily ported and recompiled on a different platform. Best-of-breed cross-platform development tools like Qt application enable you to develop prototypes quickly. The framework allows engineers to utilise pre-built components that can be customized further. The components of the prototype can also be reused when developing the final product. Note that this really helps in cutting down on the overall development time and effort significantly!
Advantages Offered by Qt Framework
Qt is a cross-platform software development framework that enables the design and development of embedded applications, mobile apps and desktop apps. It enables engineers to code in C++ and functionalities/features of the app are separated out into modules.
Some of the key benefits offered by the Qt framework include:
- Cross-platform Development – Qt supports various operating systems such as Android, Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, etc. This implies that the framework can be leveraged to design and develop all sorts of applications, starting from mobile apps to automotive infotainment systems and even high-performance medical equipment. A single code base developed using Qt can be deployed on all supported platforms with the Qt APIs.
- Multidimensional Design Capabilities – Through Qt application development, it is possible to create beautiful 2D/3D visuals on a touch-based UI that can scale up/down to all form factors. The framework contains readymade UI libraries that can be dragged and dropped to the design workspace, to ease the design process. QML also enables engineers to build UI in a declarative manner.
- Bridges Gap Between Designers and Developers – The Qt Design Studio facilitates unified design and development. This breaks the constant cycle of feedback loops between the design team and the development team, and accelerates the iterations.
- High-performance UI Development – With Qt, you can create highly responsive human machine interfaces with quick startup time and sleek animations.
- Framework Maturity – The Qt framework has been preferred by engineers for more than 20 years. The framework has also witnessed a lot of improvements over the years. Hence, it offers the much-needed stability that may be missing in other frameworks.
- Quick Prototype Development – The UI concept can be implemented quickly using the Qt framework – right from the design stage to prototype development and validation on target hardware. The final product with interactions and animations can also be developed easily from the prototype, as modular library classes can be reused.
- Incredible Documentation and Support – The Qt framework has great documentation when compared to competing platforms. There are guides on every aspect of application development, including examples and tutorials. Qt also has a huge user-base of more than 1 million users. This helps developers in receiving community support easily.
Understand the Key Milestones in Qt Application Development
- When using Qt for application development, the first step is to compile it for the target platform. You need to have a clear idea of the device that is being designed, so that you can decide the type of tool that will be used from the Qt framework.
- The next step is to identify the type of low-level communication that is required on the driver side.
- After that, you can proceed with the actual application development process. During application development, it is important to identify what kind of screens will be created. In case some screens can be reused, those will have to be separated out as a different stream of work.
- The subsequent steps you take will be based on the target platform/device the application will be running on, i.e., laptop, desktop, tablet, smartwatch, etc.
Our Experience in HMI/UI Development
With over 15 years of IoT application development experience, Embitel has been a frontrunner in crafting cutting-edge HMI/UI in the automotive, Industry 4.0 and healthcare domains. Our expert team of engineers have collaborated with global customers to develop cloud-based and native embedded applications that are operator centric.
- Automotive Industry – We have been instrumental in developing high-end infotainment systems and instrument clusters with exceptional UI.
- Industry 4.0 – We have worked on mobile app development projects for industrial drive control and web app development projects for Industrial IoT and automation.
- Wellness/Healthcare – Development of mobile app for measuring sleep quality and cloud-based mobile app and HMI development for tracking health parameters are some of our past projects.
We have leveraged Qt application for designing rich, intuitive and compelling HMIs for several projects. To check out our portfolio of work related to HMI/UI development, please connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.