Explain the general principles of user interface design.
1 Answer

The general principles of the user interface can be given as follows:

i.Aesthetically Pleasing:

  • A design is aesthetically pleasing if it is attractive to the eye.It draws attention subliminally,conveying a message clearly & quickly.
  • Visual appeal is provided by following the presentation & graphic design principles which include meaningful contrast between screen elements,creating spatial groupings,aligning screen elements,providing three-dimensional representation,& using color & graphics effectively.


  • User interface must be clear in visual appearance,concept & wording.
  • Visual elements should be understandable & related to real world concepts & functions.Analogies should be simple.
  • Interface words & text should be simple,unambiguous,& free of computer jargon.


Compatibility needs to be provided as

  • User Compatibility:“Know the user” is the fundamental principle in interface design as no users are alike & they think, feel & behave differently compared to the developer.
  • Task & job compatibility:The structure & flow of functions should permit easy transition between tasks.The user must never be forced to navigate between applications or many screens to complete routine daily tasks.
  • Product compatibility:compatibility across products must always be considered in relation to improving interfaces, making new systems compatible with existing systems will take advantage of what users already know & reduce the necessity for new learning.


  • The steps to complete a task should be obvious.System should be understandable & flowing in meaningful order.
  • A user should know what to look at,what to do,when to do it,where to do it,why to do it & how to do it.


  • A default configuration as well as easy personalization & customization through configuration and reconfiguration should be provided.
  • Customization enhances sense of control,encourages an active role in understanding & allows personal preferences & differences in experience levels leading to high user satisfaction.


  • Consistency is important because it can reduce requirements for human learning by allowing skills learned in one situation to be transferred to another like it.
  • Any new system must impose some learning requirements on its uses but avoid unnecessary activity.


  • The user must control the interaction & never be interrupted for errors.
  • Actions should result from explicit user requests & be performed quickly.


  • Tasks should be performed directly & alternatives should be visible reducing the user’s mental workload.
  • Tasks are performed by directly selecting an object then selecting an action performed & then seeing the action being performed.


  • Transition between various systems controls should flow easily & freely.
  • Navigation paths should be as short as possible.
  • Eye movement through a screen should be obvious & sequential.


  • Build into the interface concepts,terminology,workflows & spatial arrangements already familiar to the user.
  • Familiar concepts enable people to get started & become productive quickly.


  • Flexibility is the system’s ability to respond to individual differences in people.
  • permitting system customization.


  • People will make mistakes;a system should be able to tolerate those that are common & unavoidable.
  • A forgiving system keeps people out of trouble.

xiii. Predictability:

  • All actions should lead to results the user expects.Current operations should provide clues as to what will come next.
  • Design consistency enhances predictability.


  • A person should be able to retract any action by issuing an undo command.
  • The goal is stability or returning easily to the right track when a wrong track has been taken.
  • Recovery should be obvious,automatic,easy & natural to perform.


  • A user must be responded quickly.
  • Substantial or more informative feedback is most important for the casual or new system user.
  • All requests must be acknowledged in some way.

xvi. Simplicity:

  • Simplicity can be achieved by progressive disclosure, provide defaults, minimize screen alignment points, make common actions points,make common actions simpler,& provide uniformity & consistency.


  • Permit the user to focus on the task or job without concerning the mechanics of the interface.
  • Working & reminders of workings inside the computer should be invisible to the user.


  • Final design will be based on a series of trade-offs balancing often-conflicting design principles.
  • People’s requirements always take precedence over technical requirements.
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