Envisioning a superior user experience

UX design, UI development

The best user interfaces help minimize training time, improve productivity, and reduce error rates. Well-conceived UI and user experience can give voice to a brand and can support — or even inspire — a marketing strategy.

What They’re Saying

Our Favorite Feedback

“So, how would I— oh, it’s right here.”

“It is a very nice, clean user interface, and very intuitively easy to use. Anybody who works in an earth station, who knows what you need to do, can walk up to this thing and start tapping buttons, and get it to do something useful without a user manual. That was one of our design goals.

“Well, we had an expert in user experience. Marlin Ouverson did the entire design for the user experience… down to the placement of every pixel and every color… and it’s absolutely beautiful. And everyone that we had come in to view this while we were setting it up was oohing and aahing about it, so we knew we had gotten it right.”

On the other hand, an interface that’s ill-conceived, overloaded, or simply aging can hinder as much as it helps. And that reflects poorly on both the product and its makers.

The best user interfaces help to minimize training requirements, improve productivity, and reduce error rates. And those contribute greatly to the user experience.

How we can help

We design the user experience and user interfaces for electronic devices. To do that, we work with hardware and firmware engineers from prototype to production.

For software, we can design the look-and-feel in collaboration with the developers. That can include the UX or just the graphical assets of the application, as needed.

For all developers, we can also provide technical documentation. For some projects, this dovetails nicely with the task of scoping the interface to ensure it serves a user’s many potential needs.

Case history:

New generation of satellite antenna controllers

Radeus Labs, Inc. developed a new generation of control systems for large dish antennas that are used for tracking communications satellites. External Design supported the device’s firmware developers with both user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design.

Our long-time colleagues at FORTH, Inc. provided engineering support and software development. Radeus’ resulting Model 8200 ACU (shown) immediately showed clear competitive and usability advantages over the industry’s legacy systems. It has spawned other satcom products at Radeus Labs and continues to receive very favorable reviews in the satcom field.

UI vs. UX
What’s the difference?

In lieu of a dissertation, we offer this succinct way of thinking about them:

  • UI — the visual appearance and arrangement of the controls and content.
  • UX — the user experience comprises all the micro-impressions, flow, clarity, intuitiveness, ease, and subjective and objective rewards of a web site or application.

Biggest Misconception

“Our audience doesn’t care about that.” Good UI & UX benefit everyone. If this declaration seems superficially correct, consider whether it is more a case of an audience/market that does not want to see itself as needing the benefit.

Steeped in the history of human-machine interfaces

Circa 1980, Marlin Ouverson was invited to Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) labs, where engineers demonstrated to him the world’s first computer mouse and the first example of multiple windows on a display, with a different application running in each. They paved the way to the first Macintosh and other, now-ubiquitous, GUI* operating systems and devices.

Since those days, Marlin has consistently advocated for improved human-machine interfaces.

*”Graphical user interface”

Service Type
UX development - UI design
Provider Name
External Design,
California, Hawaii, New York
User experience (UX) = the ease, impressions, flow, and overall gestalt of a website or software. User interface (UI) = the appearance of things. Working with a team of engineers and programmers, we designed both for the newest generation of satellite antenna dish controllers, serving as the user experience designer.