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User Interface fundamentals

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UI principles:

1. Clarity, Clarity, Clarity – users must recognise it, care about it, understand it and be able to interact with it

2. Interfaces exist to enable interaction – interfaces do a job and can be measured but aren’t utilitarian.

  • Interfaces help clarify, illuminate and enable
  • Interfaces show relationships and manage user expectations
  • Interfaces give us access to services.
  • the ideal interface doesn’t require help to use it or navigate – if not ideal, then build inline help to aid interaction

3. Keep attention – focus attention in a world of continuous interruptions.

  • Don’t litter with useless elements.
  • Don’t clutter with intrusive adverts or images

4. Let users be in control

  • don’t create software that pushes users into unplanned interaction
  • people don’t like surprises, make sure that they end up where they expect to be
  • keep users in control through causation messages, by giving insight into what to expect next

5. Interfaces help us interact with objects – are those buttons, menus, graphics aiding or distracting the users from interacting

6. One primary action per screen – this makes it easier to learn, easier to use, easier to add to.

  • Show people only what is necessary
  • progressive disclosure
  • avoid over explaining or trying to show everything at once

7. Keep secondary actions second. If your primary goal is to have an article read then don’t fill the screen with share icons.

8. Design the next step – anticipate the users next move and design for it.

  • Provide an opening for more interaction
  • Start with zero state – the state in which no interaction has happened yet which should give direction

9. Designed elements should look how they behaviour ie form follows function

10. Consistency matters – elements that behave the same should look the same.

11. Strong visual hierarchy – have a clear viewing order that is consistent on every screen.

12. Smartly organise your UI elements so that users don’t have to think about how elements are related to each other.

13. Use colour in the right context – vibrant colours are not easy on the eye if you are expecting the user to sit a long time in front of the screen reading your content.

14. Build on other design disciplines – typography, copy writing, information architecture



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