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web.ui seven steps

At Sienna Creative we believe there are seven UI design principles:


  1. The Form Principle
    "Form follows function" holds ever true. Design should follow good and established norms, to fill quick and ubiquitous expectations. High importance items should be prominently placed up high (above the fold), while low importance items should be subdued and/or pushed downward. Design should be informative, grouped into logical layouts, with room to breath for key thoughts and high readability. Groupings should be based on thoughts that are similar. The over-arching design should be built on a format that is flexible and meaningful to all content display. Last page action items should be lower right. Backward moving links should always be on the left and indicate left-ward movement, while forward moving elements and site encouragement should be on the right and should use right-ward slant or arrows.

  3. The Simplicity Principle
    Clean, clear, and minimalistic in verbiage. Layout should be designed to further the individual page objective, while advancing the site-wide goals. Structure for other navigation and content options should be handled in a non-interfering way. Navigation should not assume too much experience or understanding on behalf of the user. It should not be too elaborate to operate for the "internet intimidated." Short cuts and "wizards" should be installed for longer, more complicated tasks to help guide and direct.

  5. The Transparency (aka Visibility) Principle
    All options available all the time. Nothing is more frustrating for a user than when navigation options come and go from page to page, this imparts a feeling of restriction, confinement, even confusion. Always give multiple "out" points or navigation-away to other common site options.

  7. The Engagement Principle
    Emphasize primary navigation points in a design that encourages flow from point A to point B. At the same time, keep all navigation options available, and where needed, subdue the non-important.

  9. The Feedback Principle
    Like good "bio-feedback," your site should constantly inform you on your current location, key actions confirmed, changes in site processing, and clearly worded exception and error handling. Language should be concise and in non-tech speak. Context sensitive help along the way reduces apprehension and worry.

  11. The Tolerance Principle
    Site navigation and design should be tolerant and forgiving. Mouse-overs, buttons, and links should not be too small and allow for close proximity hits. Where forms are involved, alternate entry interpretations should be designed-in to handle various entry possibilities. If invalid data is entered, intelligent error handling should be in place to prevent crashes and gently encourage valid data types. Ultimately, testing for every possible scenario of navigation sequence, form entry (good and bad data), and resulting site responses should be thoroughly vetted.

  13. The Consistency Principle
    The entire site should maintain design integrity from page to page, to leverage maximum identity and brand equity. Modularity of components will enhance the simplicity for future design changes, while maximizing layout and design consistency.


Note that there are overlapping yet distinct differences between UI design, site navigation, graphic design, and content design. Each has a different and succinct focus, while together they powerfully deliver the global brand experience.



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"Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."


Steve Jobs



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