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A User-Friend Interface: The DOs and DO NOTs of UI Design

How can you create an intuitive website or web application? What are some common follies to stay away from? How do we keep users coming back for more? And how is designing a website like cooking chicken? This article describes some guidelines that can help you as a programmer or designer to channel your creativity, and design a user-friendly, ergonomic web site. These guidelines range from site structure to wording and imagery, this is the whole package!

  1. A User-Friend Interface: The DOs and DO NOTs of UI Design
  2. Guideline #1
  3. Lost in Space
  4. We Need Textual Healing
By: Justin Cook
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April 19, 2004

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Creating a user-friendly website can be a little bit like cooking chicken. If over-cooked, nobody really enjoys it -- in fact they just look forward to clearing the palette with something else. If under-cooked, we end up in the hospital with salmonella. OK, perhaps our site won't send anyone to the ER, but it could certainly make them leery about coming back for more! If cooked properly however, it will be a nice all-around experience for all, and our friends will be begging for the recipe.

So how do we cook the perfect web-site? Well, honestly, perfection is perhaps a little bit high of an expectation, but we can get nearly there if we follow some basic rules. Oops, I used the 'r' word (I see you all grimacing). Sorry, let's change that to principles! Or maybe super-fun-happy-guidelines. Ahhh -- much better.

This article will cover a number of important principles we should adhere to when charged with the responsibility of designing a User Interface. Keep in mind that these are not necessarily new ideas, but rather proven concepts. Now I know that the typical programmer loves to think outside the box, and I am no exception. We don't like to be forced to conform. But if we think too far outside the UI box for the sake of originality, we could over-cook our chicken. This is because we risk breaking the first guideline, which I will cleverly refer to as Guideline #1.

>>> More Practices Articles          >>> More By Justin Cook

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