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Eight Golden Rules Will Help You Design Better Interfaces

Follow Ben Shneiderman’s ‘Eight Golden Rules of Interface Design’ if you want to design great, productive and frustration-free user interfaces. Apple, Google and Microsoft are among some of the highly successful companies whose well-designed products reflect Shneiderman’s rules. The characteristics derived from Shneiderman’s golden rules can be recognized in various user interface guidelinesproduced by corporate giants like the companies mentioned above. The visual embodiment of these rules is even more evident in the resulting popular interfaces they produce. This article will teach you to improve your work by integrating the 8 golden rules.

8 Golden Rules of Interface Design

Ben Shneiderman (born August 21, 1947) is an American computer scientist and professor at the University of Maryland Human-Computer Interaction Lab. His work is comparable to other contemporary design thinkers like Don Norman and Jakob Nielsen. In his popular book “Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction”, Shneiderman reveals his eight golden rules of interface design:

  • Strive for consistency by utilizing familiar icons, colors, menu hierarchy, call-to-actions, and user flowswhen designing similar situations and sequence of actions. Standardizing the way information is conveyed ensures users are able to apply knowledge from one click to another; without the need to learn new representations for the same actions. Consistency plays an important role by helping users become familiar with the digital landscape of your product so they can achieve their goals more easily.
  • Enable frequent users to use shortcuts. With increased use comes the demand for quicker methods of completing tasks. For example, both Windows and Mac provide users with keyboard shortcuts for copying and pasting, so as the user becomes more experienced, they can navigate and operate the user interface more quickly and effortlessly.
  • Offer informative feedbackThe user should know where they are at and what is going on at all times. For every action there should be appropriate, human-readable feedback within a reasonable amount of time. A good example of applying this would be to indicate to the user where they are at in the process when working through a multi-page questionnaire. A bad example we often see is when an error message shows an error-code instead of a human-readable and meaningful message.

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