10 Principles for UI Design

Type: Principles
Sources: Jakob Nielsen, thanks to Scott Selhorst


to support good user interfaces. These principles can be used in an attempt to test UI very efficiently without doing usability studies.
Note: In one of my projects we designed a user interface for a handheld device running Windows Mobile. It seemed apparent that it is not useful to mimic a Windows-like UI with windows, tabs and long lists. After the fact I read a lot of 'our' ideas in Jakob Nielsen's article. Thank you!

Principles and Notes

P1 interacting: Does the system provide information about its status? [”Please wait while the system is updating”]

P2 familiar: Does the system use terms and language that are familiar to the user?

P3 oops-tolerant: Can mistakes easily be undone? [”Undo” and “How do I get back to where I was from here?”]

P4 consistency: Does the system use controls (buttons, links, words) to enable actions consistently [”Yes” vs. “OK” vs. “Apply”]

P5 error preventing: Does the system help prevent common user errors?

P6 obvious: Is it easy for users to see what they can do, versus being forced to remember what they can do?

P7 user differentiating: Are there ways for expert users to be more efficient than novice users?

P8 minimal information: Are users forced to filter out irrelevant information (minimalist design)?

P9 useful on errors: Do error messages help users to resolve the errors?

P10 documentation: Is the documentation searchable, task-centric, and precise with “how to” steps?

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