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Principles for user interface design.

Useful. Efficient. Clear.

The best designs are useful, efficient, and clear.


Mission First

1. Start well, land softly
2. Design for the users
3. Achieve the mission

What are the best ways to welcome and orientate a new user?
Who are the users?
What are the users trying to achieve?

Be Logical and Flexible

1. Present information logically
2. Be flexible
3. Be helpful

What does the user expect next and where do they expect it to be?
What else might the user want to do?
What help would be useful?

Be Navigable

1. You are here: always keep the user informed
2. Provide a useful search function
3. Always provide escape paths

How does the user know where they are?
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 Actions

1. Do not force unnecessary actions
2. Make it simple but not simplistic
3. Minimize repeat effort

What is the shortest path to achieving the objective?
What’s the simplest way to achieve the objective?
How can the task be repeated with minimum of effort?

Optimise Composition

1. Optimize the use of real estate
2. Know your interaction options
3. Know your technical architecture

Where is the best place, in terms of form and function, to place components?
How can the user interact with the system?
How does the system create, read, update, delete and store data?

Show Relevant Information

1. Show, don’t hide
2. Remember and default
3. Expand is your friend

What information might be needed to achieve the objective?
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 Clearly

1. Communicate through design
2. Don’t clutter but do fill
3. Give clear feedback

What graphic design, visual clues, and interaction standards will maximize clarity?
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, especially when there are exceptions?

Be Consistent

1. Be consistent with everything
2. Use consistent workflows
3. Be consistent with brand voice

What is the user always expecting to be of the same style and in the same place?
What is the workflow the user expects?
What is the tone and style of the brand’s voice to be used?

Be Accessible

1. Font and control sizes matter
2. Use colour wisely
3. Consider multi-region requirements

What sizes and resolutions need to be catered for?
In what situations is color appropriate as a visual indicator without being a distraction?
Does text need to provide in multiple languages, how will this impact the design?

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