In the realm of interface design, how should web interfaces be colored, spaced, formatted, accessed, ordered, architected, and what sort of content should be where and why. Our class did an Interface Design Roundup to collect a set of useful digital design tips.

Here are some tips that I’ve found useful in my work over the years:

    Consistency with the overall device experience is more important than consistency across platforms.

    Make objects consistent with their behavior. Make objects that act differently look different.

    Consistent standards. Users should not have to wonder whether different words, situations, or actions mean the same thing. Follow platform conventions.

    Choose metaphors well, metaphors that will enable users to instantly grasp the finest details of the conceptual model.

    Users often choose system functions by mistake and will need a clearly marked “emergency exit” to leave the unwanted state without having to go through an extended dialogue.
    Make actions reversible. Support undo and redo.

    Dialogues should not contain information which is irrelevant or rarely needed. Every extra unit of information in a dialogue competes with the relevant units of information and diminishes their relative visibility.

    Error messages should be expressed in plain language (no codes), precisely indicate the problem, and constructively suggest a solution.

    Use status mechanisms to keep users aware and informed.

    Offer users stable perceptual cues for a sense of “home”. Stable visual elements not only enable people to navigate fast, they act as dependable landmarks, giving people a sense of “home.”

    Reduce the user’s experience of latency. Communicate the potential length of wait time through an animated progress indicator or message.

    The back button is our friend.

    Text that must be read should have high contrast.

    Use font sizes that are large enough to be readable on standard monitors.

    Test with representative users well before a product ships.

Sources:

Jakob Nielsen’s 10 Usability Heuristics.

Bruce “Tog” Tognazzini’s list of basic principles for interface design.

UX Booth and mobile UX design.


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