Interface Design Guideline Archive

by Luke Wroblewski March 9, 2004

A recently compiled list of effective interface design guidelines and principles from a variety of authors:

Human Interface Principles -Apple Computer

Discusses the human interface design principles that describe key considerations for the design decisions you make for your product.

First Principles -Bruce Tognazzini

According to Tog: "The following principles are fundamental to the architecture and implementation of effective interfaces, whether for traditional GUI environments or the Web."

Eight Golden Rules of Interface Design" -Ben Shneiderman

These rules were obtained from the text Designing the User Interface and are a guide to good interaction design.

Principles of Good Design -Donald Norman

Visibility. By looking, the user can tell the state of the device and the alternatives for action.

A good conceptual model. The designer provides a good conceptual model for the user, with consistency in the presentation of operations and results and coherent, consistent system image.

Good mappings. It is possible to determine the relationships between actions and results, between the controls and their effects, and between the system state and what is visible.

Feedback. The user receives full and continuous feedback about the results of actions.

Ten Usability Heuristics -Jakob Nielsen

Heuristic evaluation involves examining the interface and judging its compliance with recognized usability principles (the "heuristics").

User Interface Guidelines -Tim Gasperak

This concise list hits on some key principles that apply to all forms of interface design: context, engagement, consistency, a bottom-up approach to organization...

Design Basics -IBM

The design principles presented here combine traditional wisdom with extensions to address the evolution of future interfaces and include: Simplicity, Support, Familiarity, Obviousness, Encouragement, Satisfaction, Availability, Versatility, and more.

Common Principles: A Usable Interface Design Primer -Rick Oppedisano

Some basic guidelines for minimizing user cognitive processing and maximizing interface efficiency.

Principles of Good GUI Design -James Hobart

Describes the basic rules for all good interfaces -the cardinal dos and don'ts.

User Interface Design Principles -Motif Style Guide

A user interface is simply the interface between an application and the user of an application. The primary goal of a user interface is to help user interface designers easily create applications that increase user effectiveness and satisfaction.

A Summary of Principles for User-Interface Design -ACM

A compilation of fundamental principles for designing user interfaces, which have been drawn from various books on interface design, as well as the author's own experience.

Ergonomic Guidelines for User Interface Design -Cornell University

Guidelines to good software interface design based on Hix and Hartson's Developing User Interfaces.

Web Design Standards, Guidelines, and Patterns -University of Minnesota

A lengthy listing of link to many more guideline and principles.

Some commonalities between the guidelines and principles above include: Put the user in control, Provide Feedback and Forgiveness, Maintain Clarity Visually and Verbally, Know Your Audience, Design with Consistency and Visibility in Mind (WYSIWYG), Provide Context, and Optimize for Utility.