Show Menu

Shneiderman: 8 Golden Rules of Interface Design Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

Rules for designing user interfaces

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


These rules were obtained from the text Designing the User Interface by Ben Shneid­erman. Shneid­erman proposed this collection of principles that are derived heuris­tically from experience and applicable in most intera­ctive systems after being properly refined, extended, and interp­reted.

To improve the usability of an applic­ation it is important to have a well designed interface.

Eight Golden Rules

1. Strive for consis­ten­cy.
Consistent sequences of actions should be required in similar situat­ions; identical termin­ology should be used in prompts, menus, and help screens; and consistent commands should be employed throug­hout.

2. Enable frequent users to use shortc­uts.
As the frequency of use increases, so do the user's desires to reduce the number of intera­ctions and to increase the pace of intera­ction. Abbrev­iat­ions, function keys, hidden commands, and macro facilities are very helpful to an expert user.

3. Offer inform­ative feedba­ck.
For every operator action, there should be some system feedback. For frequent and minor actions, the response can be modest, while for infrequent and major actions, the response should be more substa­ntial.

4. Design dialog to yield closure.
Sequences of actions should be organized into groups with a beginning, middle, and end. The inform­ative feedback at the completion of a group of actions gives the operators the satisf­action of accomp­lis­hment, a sense of relief, the signal to drop contin­gency plans and options from their minds, and an indication that the way is clear to prepare for the next group of actions.

Eight Golden Rules

Eight Golden Rules Continued

5. Offer simple error handli­ng.
As much as possible, design the system so the user cannot make a serious error. If an error is made, the system should be able to detect the error and offer simple, compre­hen­sible mechanisms for handling the error.

6. Permit easy reversal of actions.
This feature relieves anxiety, since the user knows that errors can be undone; it thus encourages explor­ation of unfamiliar options. The units of revers­ibility may be a single action, a data entry, or a complete group of actions.

7. Support internal locus of control.
Experi­enced operators strongly desire the sense that they are in charge of the system and that the system responds to their actions. Design the system to make users the initiators of actions rather than the respon­ders.

8. Reduce short-term memory load.
The limitation of human inform­ation processing in short-term memory requires that displays be kept simple, multiple page displays be consol­idated, window­-motion frequency be reduced, and sufficient training time be allotted for codes, mnemonics, and sequences of actions.