Schneiderman’s Eight Golden Rules

Ben Schneiderman worked in Human-Computer Interaction and his research revealed these eight golden rules for interface design.

  1. Strive for consistency. Use familiar icons, colors, menu styles, calls to action, etc.
  2. Enable users to use shortcuts. Users who use your product often will inevitably understand it and no longer need directions on how to use it. They will start looking for ways to move through the interface quicker, provide them shortcuts.
  3. Offer informative feedback. Breadcrumbs and ripple effects on websites, ATM noises, haptic responses on phones/watches are examples of informative feedback.
  4. Design dialogue to yield closure. Thank you messages after purchase, Congratulations after sign-ups, these messages close the interaction for the user.
  5. Offer simple error handling. This reminds me of back in the day when forms were really hard to develop and if you filled one out incorrectly, you would lose all of your information when the page kicked you back. Simple error handling flags fields that may have been missed or filled out improperly.
  6. Permit easy reversal of actions. If the user feels comfortable that errors are reversible, they will explore more.
  7. Support internal locus of control. If your users explore more, they will feel more in control and ultimately trust your application or company more.
  8. Reduce short-term memory load. Human attention is limited. We are only able to remember five things at a time (give or take 2). Recognition is always easier than recalling something.

Deep Dive Resources:

This post is part of a series of quick informative lists I can refer back to when doing research or preparing presentations.

Information Facts of Life

According to an article from HBR (March-April 1994), there are rules governing information sharing behavior. Having run across these rules doing some Change Management research this morning, I find these rules relevant even 26 years later.

  • Most of the information in organizations – and most of the information people really care about – is not on computers.
  • Managers prefer to get information from people rather than computers; people add value to raw information by interpreting it and adding context.
  • The more complex and detailed an information management approach, the less likely it is to change anyone’s behavior.
  • All information does not have to be common; an element of flexibility and disorder is desirable.
  • The more a company knows and cares about its core business area, the less likely employees will be to agree on a common definition of it.
  • If information is power and money, people will not share it easily.
  • The willingness of individuals to use a specified information format is directly proportional to how much they have participated in defining it, or trust other who did.
  • To make the most of electronic communications, employees must first learn to communicate face to face.
  • Since people are important sources and integrators of information, any maps of information should include people.
  • There is no such thing as information overload; if information is really useful our appetite for it is insatiable.

Original Article can be found here.