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Thursday, January 20, 2011

What are different user interface design principles and guidelines in software engineering ?

A good web application interface is understandable and forgiving, providing the user with a sense of control. The inner workings of the system are not for concern for the users. Effective applications perform a maximum of work, while requiring a minimum of information from users.


- Consistency of actions should be required in similar situations. The use of navigation controls, menus, icons should be consistent throughout the web application.
- Anticipation Web application should be designed in such a way that it should interpret the user's next move.
- Communication Whatever activity that is been initiated by the user, it should be communicated by the interface. Communication can be obvious or subtle. User status and location should also be communicated by the interface.
- Efficiency Users work efficiency should be optimized by the design of the web application and its interface and not the efficiency of the web engineer who designs and builds it.
- Flexibility Flexibility of the user interface should enable some users to get the tasks done directly and some other users to explore the web application in random fashion.
- Controlled Autonomy User movement should be facilitated by the interface in such a manner that enforces navigation conventions that are established for application.
- Focus The interface of the web application should be focussed on user tasks at hand.
- Human Interface Objects Use reusable human interface objects. An interface object that is seen, heard, touched by the end user can be get from the object libraries.
- Learn ability Learning time should be reduced by a well designed web application interface.
- Latency Reduction The web application should use multitasking so that the user can proceed with his work and do not wait for some internal operation to get completed.
- Metaphors A metaphor should call images and concepts from user's experience, but it does not need to be an exact reproduction of real world experience. The web application interface that uses an interaction metaphor is easier to learn and use.
- Maintain work product integrity A work product must be automatically saved so that there is no loss of information if an error occurs.
- Readability Every person should be able to read the information in the user interface.
- Track State The state of the user interaction should be saved and stored so that the user can return to the same point even if he or she logs off.
- Visible navigation A well designed web application interface provides the illusion that users are in the same place, with the work brought to them.

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