Early in my career, I built interfaces to look cool. As I matured as a developer, I came to understand that interfaces needed to serve a purpose, and users shape that end. With the user in mind, there are two kinds of interfaces.
I design data-dense user interfaces for informed users. These users already have an understanding of how to solve their problems. When utilizing an interface, they want to see as much data as possible and aren't necessarily looking for guidance. These users are also not easily overwhelmed by data and want to move as quickly as possible. Here are some examples of data-dense UIs:
These interfaces are designed to help users quickly become informed, and guide them to make the best decision. The best decision is a mutually beneficial outcome for both the creator of the UI and the user. The interfaces have less information on them and instead opt for the right information. Here are some examples.
Note: the push towards the best sellers, and the limited number of items above the fold.
Note: The best option is the lowest price with the highest rating.
Note: Sorting is already applied to the options, and although there are 58 of them, only two are visible. This order implies some initial significance.
When building UIs, I take into consideration a user, and that helps me choose whether to create a data-dense or data-sense interface. Advanced users will most likely want an advanced interface.Users looking for guidance will want answers distilled for them and naturally want refined interfaces. Choosing the right interface can lead to happier users and better outcomes all around.