When it comes to User Interface ( UI ) or simply Interface, there is just one way to do it: iterations iterations iterations. Interface is what makes the game accessible and enjoyable. You don't want to swamp the players into a one hour tutorial to make him understand how it works. He needs to understand it right away and learn its deeper complexities on the go. One rule that I want to follow is: the simpler the better, and once you get a mechanic, repeat it all over the place to make sure that when the player is comfortable with one system, he is comfortable with the whole thing.
So here is the first pass, basically the excercice was to put in there all what I needed to put to see how it goes.
Second pass has more refining already. I tried to make sure that there was no right click needed to interact with the system and the game. Spaceship management is on the bottom left, Cargo management on top left, Contacts and target management on top right and navigation management on bottom right.Those are the full expanded menus to see the worst case scenario.
Designing in photoshop those interfaces helps also to think the whole interaction loop altogether and from A to Z . Visual and design are one and same thing.Still need to figure out that dialog interface tho ;)