User interface design for web-based applications

In this article, I will summarize the general rules that I learned during years of designing web application user interfaces.
  • Keep it simple and clear.
    Users need to solve tasks efficiently and quickly. The interface should be as simple and straightforward as possible. Each component should have it's clear purpose and the visual structure should reflect the logic behind it.
  • Make it intuitive
    Don't make user stop and think about how it works. Let the layout and appearance of the components speak for themselves.
  • Know the rules.
    Users expect a certain visual layout as well as functionality of the components. If you break the rules and make things look or behave differently, you should have good reasons for it and make sure user understands it.
  • Use hints where necessary.
    When you are not sure, create hints that will explain the purpose and how it works.
  • Look through user's eyes.
    Try to look at the interface from user's perspective. Think about what is the important information for the user and what is not so important. The most common tasks should be always at hand.

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User Interface Design for Web Applications (by Jean Tillman)

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