Interface Design Principles

I want to start compiling a list of user interface design principles. Not necessarily things that I’ve read, but things that I’ve gleaned from working on Graph Sketcher and looking at other UI design work. Also, these include the business side of product design.

1. Make your interface easier/faster than what users can do with their current tools. It’s surprisingly difficult to beat paper and pencil.

2. Constraints: understand what your users do and do not need to edit. Just because the underlying representation is very flexible does not mean the user need be exposed to that full power – the complexities and options could slow them down considerably. Whenever possible, make design choices so your users don’t have to.

3. As I think I detailed in a previous post, good design means inventing good abstractions. Good abstractions ideally have all – and only – the functionality that your users need.

That’s all for the moment.

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