My Interface Design Principles

by Tom Carroll

I did some work on putting together a new interface design for an application. So, I thought I would provide my guiding principles.

  1. “Information becomes the interface”, Edward Tufte in Visual Explanations p.142.
  2. “OODA Loop” (Observation, Orientation, Decision, Action) By Col John Boyd, USAF (Ret).
  3. Information displays should strive to be no wider than 16 choices and 2 levels deep.
  4. Base change on real observed behavior. The qualitative can not eliminate the quantitative
  5. To some degree the interface has to be stupid simple. The antithesis to this principle is demonstrated by some large ERP software vendors.
  6. Do as much work beyond view of the customer as possible.
  7. Icons are Iconic or they are not valuable.
  8. Visual oriented communication occurs a faster rate and results in increased short term retention
  9. Make help always available and obvious
  10. Continuity Continuity Continuity
  11. Empathy