Let’s start with the fundamentals of user interface design. Constantine and Lockwood describe a collection of principles for improving the quality of your user interface design. These principles are
1. The structure principle : Your design should organize the user interface purposefully, in meaningful and useful ways based on clear, consistent models that are apparent and recognizable to users, putting related things together and separating unrelated things, differentiating dissimilar things and making similar things resemble one another. The structure principle is concerned with your overall user interface architecture.
2. The simplicity principle : Your design should make simple, common tasks simple to do, communicating clearly and simply in the user’s own language, and providing good shortcuts that are meaningfully related to longer procedures.
3. The visibility principle : Your design should keep all needed options and materials for a given task visible without distracting the user with extraneous or redundant information. Good designs don’t overwhelm users with too many alternatives or confuse them with unneeded information.
4. The feedback principle : Your design should keep users informed of actions or interpretations, changes of state or condition, and errors or exceptions that are relevant and of interest to the user through clear, concise, and unambiguous language familiar to users.
5. The tolerance principle : Your design should be flexible and tolerant, reducing the cost of mistakes and misuse by allowing undoing and redoing, while also preventing errors wherever possible by tolerating varied inputs and sequences and by interpreting all reasonable actions reasonable.
6. The reuse principle : Your design should reuse internal and external components and behaviors, maintaining consistency with purpose rather than merely arbitrary consistency, thus reducing the need for users to rethink and remember.