14 principles of user interface while designing & developing user interface

principles of user interface
Android UI

Principle of User Profiling

Know Your User First

Before we can answer the question "How do we make our user-interface better", we must first answer the question: Better for Whom? A design that is better for a technically skilled user might not be better for a non-technical businessman or an artist.

Principle of Metaphor

Borrow behaviors from systems familiar to your users.

Frequently a complex software system can be understood more easily if the user interface is depicted in a way that resembles some commonplace systems. The 'Desktop Metaphor' is an overused and usual example.

Principle of Future Exposure

Let the user see clearly what functions are available

Memorizing large, complex mental models for software developers are somewhat tends to hard. But not for everyone prefers to "live in their heads" - instead, they prefer to concentrate on analyzing the sensory details of the environment, rather then spending the large amount of time and perfecting abstract models. Both type of personality, Initiatives and sen-sables, can be equally intelligent but focus on different aspects of life.
Intuitive prefer users interfaces that utilize the power of abstract models - command lines, scripts, plug-ins, macros, etc. Sen-sables prefers user interface that utilize their perceptual abilities.

Principle of Coherence

The behavior of program should be coherent i.e. internally and externally consistent.

An interface should be coherent means logical, consistent, easily followed.
Internal Consistency:- Means the program behavior make "sense" with respect to other parts of the program.
External Consistency:- Means that the program is consistent with the environment in which it runs. This include consistency with both the operating system and the typical suite of applications that run within that operating system.

Principle of State Visualization

Changes in behavior should be reflect in the appearance of the program.

Each change in the behavior of the program should be accompanied by a corresponding change in the appearance of the interface. One of the big criticisms of "Modes" in interfaces is that many of the classic "bad example" programs have modes that are visually indistinguishable form one another.

Principle of Short-Cuts

Provide both concrete and abstract ways of getting a task done.

Once a user has become experienced with an application, he will start to build a mental model of the application. He will be able to predict with high accuracy what the results of any particular user gesture will be in any given context.
Pre-memorized shortcuts should be available to allow rapid access to more powerful functions. There are various levels of shortcuts, each one more abstract than its predecessor.

Principle of Focus

Some aspects of the User Interface(UI) attract attention more than others do.

The human eye is a highly non-linear device. For ex. It possesses edge-detection hardware, which is why we see match bands whenever two closely match areas of color come into contact. It also has motion detection hardware. As a consequence, our eyes are drawn to animated areas of the display more readily than static areas. Changes to these areas will be noticed rapidly.
The text cursor is another example of a highly eye-attractive object. Changing its appearance can signal a number of different and useful state changes.

Principle of Grammar.

A user interface is a kind of language - know what the rule are

Many operations within a user interface require both the subject ( an object to be operated upon), and a verb. This naturally suggest that actions in the user interface from a kind of grammar. The grammatical metaphor can be extended quite a bit, and there are elements of some programs that can be clearly identified as adverbs, adjectives and such.

Principle of Help

Understand the different kinds of help a user needs.

As per Laur (1991) five basic type of help corresponding to the five basic questions that users asks.
Goal Oriented:- "What kinds of things can I do with the program?"
Descriptive:- "What is this? What does this do?"
Procedural:- "How do I do this?"
Interpretive:- "Why did this happen?"
Navigational:- "Where am I?"

Principle of Safety

Let the user develop confidence by providing a safety net.

Ted Nelson once said, "Using DOS is like juggling with straight razors and using a Mac is like shaving with a bowling pin."
This comfort envelop varies for different peoples and in different situations. It's important to new users that they feel safe. They don't trust themselves or their skills to do the right things. Many novice users think poorly not only of their technical skills, but of their intellectual capabilities in general.

Principle of Context

Limit user activity to one well-defined context unless there's a good reason not to do.

Each user actions takes place within a given context - the current documents, the current selection, the current dialog box. A set of operations that is valid in one context may not be valid in another. Even within a single document, there may be multiple levels - for example, in a structured drawing applications, selecting a text object is generally considered a different state from selecting an individual characters within that text object.

Principle of Aesthetics

Create a program of beauty

It is not necessary that each program be a visual work of art. But it's important that it should not be ugly. There are a number of simple principles or graphical design that can easily be learned.
First of all, never do anything that looks to someone else like a mistake. Users don't like using programs that feels slow or sluggish. There are many tricks that can be used to make a slow program such as the use of off-screen bitmaps for endearing etc.

Principle of User Testing

Recruit help in spotting the inevitable defects in your design.

In many cases a good software designer can spot fundamental defects in a user interface. There are many kinds of defects which are not easy to spot, and in fact an experienced software designer is often to less capable of spotting them than the average person. A bug can only be detected while the watching someone else using the program.
User-interface testing using actual end-users has been shown to be an extraordinarily effective technique for discovering design defects. There are several specific techniques that can be used to maximize the effectiveness of end-user testing.

Principle of Humility

Listen to what ordinary people have to say.

Some of the most valuable insights can be gained by simple watching other people attempt to use your program. Others can come from listening to their opinions about the product. The ideal is to take a lot of user opinions, plus your insights as a developer and reduce them into an elegant and seamless whole - a design that will satisfy the greatest needs of he greatest number of peoples.

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