A simple field manual for user interface design.
USEFUL. EFFICIENT. CLEAR.
The best user experiences combine a brand’s voice, look and feel
with the best user interface design.
The best user interface designs are useful, efficient, and clear.
This simple field manual has the key principles for designing the best user interfaces. They overlap, and there will always be trade-offs, but if you systematically apply them, your designs will be high-quality and user friendly.
Mission FirstWho are the users?
1. Design for the users
2. Achieve the mission
3. Start well
What are the users trying to achieve?
What are the best ways to welcome and orientate a new user?
Be Logical and FlexibleWhat does the user expect next and where do they expect it to be?
1. Present information logically
2. Be flexible
3. Be helpful
What else might the user want to do?
What help would be useful?
Be NavigableHow does the user know where they are?
1. You are here: always keep the user informed
2. Provide a useful search function
3. Always provide escape paths
What will the user search for to find what they want?
How does the user cancel, or undo, an action, and go back?
Minimise User ActionsWhat is the shortest path to achieving the objective?
1. Do not force unnecessary actions
2. Make it simple but not simplistic
3. Minimize repeat effort
What’s the simplest way to achieve the objective?
How to can the task be repeated with minimum of effort?
Optimise CompositionWhere is the best place, in terms of form and function, to place components?
1. Optimize the use of real estate
2. Know your interaction options
3. Know your technical architecture
How can the user interact with the system?
How does the system create, read, update, delete and store data?
Show Relevant InformationWhat information might be needed to achieve the objective?
1. Show, don’t hide
2. Remember and default
3. Expand is your friend
What information provided by the user is likely to remain relevant for future interactions?
What information can be condensed for clarity but easily shown without requiring navigation to a new page?
Communicate ClearlyWhat graphic design, visual clues, and interaction standards will maximise clarity?
1. Communicate through design
2. Don’t clutter but do fill
3. Give clear feedback
What is the best way to use the space without overwhelming the user
What feedback would make the functions and status most clear to the user? Is text to voice required?
Be ConsistentWhat is the user always expecting to be of the same style and in the same place?
1. Be consistent with everything
2. Use consistent workflows
3. Be consistent with brand voice
What is the workflow the user expects?
What is the tone and style of the brand’s voice to be used?
Be AccessibleWhat sizes and resolutions need to be catered for?
1. Font and control sizes matter
2. Use colour wisely
3. Consider multi-region requirements
In what situations is colour appropriate as a visual indicator?
Does text need to provide in multiple languages, with variations on language direction?
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