A great user interface

10 Thumb Rules for designing a User Interface

What are Design Guidelines?

Design guideline is used by designers and developers of a company, in order to maintain a particular format throughout. Design guidelines help designers brainstorm creative ideas. It opens up new paths by implementing a principle but considering the flexibility of the rule as well. It enhances consistency, productivity, understanding and instinct. Design guidelines are of two categories:
1. Platform Specific
2. Cross-platform

The 10 Rules of Thumb were originated from Jakob Nielsen and Rolf Molich. These design guidelines were designed to be user-friendly.

“When I think of design and creating great user experiences, I generally think of it in terms of three things: usability, utility and desirability.” – Jon Wiley: head designer of Google Search, 2012.
They promote usability, utility and desirability of the designs. Such user interface guidelines have been in practice by all top-notch companies like Apple, Google, Adobe etc.

I. Visibility
The design is displayed on the screen must be clear and easy to understand within a short span of time. Use of complicated graphics and complex language must be avoided.

II. Virtual world and Real world
Designers should strive towards providing such a real-world design that the targeted audience could relate to.

III. Control and Freedom.
The framed format must have the option of undo and redo of an action. A backward step should be available in every version of a design format.

IV. Consistency and Standards
Designs should be specific, with respect to the subcategory in which they fall into. Designers must ensure that graphic and language format used in one platform, must not be repeated in a different screen.

V. Error Prevention
Guidelines must consider providing a protocol that prevents error. Possible ways to achieve minimum error is eliminating or flagging actions that might result in an error.

VI. Recognition and Recall
A design must be so that could be easily recognized by the public. The display must contain recognizable task-relevant information. Recognizing a design is easier than recalling a design. For example – recognizing a known face is easier than recalling the same from some possible event where you met.

VII. Flexibility and Efficiency of use
As the usage has been increased in the recent past, it has led to lesser interaction. Thus, the best possible way of framing a protocol would be by using abbreviations, function keys, hidden commands and macro facilities.

VIII. Aesthetic value
Keep the residue and clutter minimized from the display. The display must be reduced to relevant information only, represented aesthetically and providing a minimalist design.

IX. Recognize, Diagnose, Recover
Tech-speak must be avoided, i.e. designers must assume users have little to no knowledge and always keep the language simple to understand, tech-speak – technological terms must be avoided.

X. Help and Documentation
Ideally, the designers of design guidelines do not want users to indulge in some issues, which makes documentation a necessity. Documentation should be easily located and elaborated in a simpler manner.

Henceforth, it is essential to lay down some ground rules that define how the brand elements are used. Know more about our design services. 

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