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Design Matters (9): Bruce Tognazzini’s First Principles of Interaction Design [Radio Edit]

Effective interfaces are visually apparent and forgiving, instilling in their users a sense of control. Users quickly see the breadth of their options, grasp how to achieve their goals, and can settle down to do their work. Effective interfaces do not concern the user with the inner workings of the system. Work is carefully and continuously saved, with full option for the user to undo any activity at any time. Effective applications and services perform a maximum of work, while requiring a minimum of information from users.

Because an application or service appears on the web or mobile device, the principles do not change. If anything, applying these principles—all these principles—becomes even more important.

Bruce Tognazzini – First Principles of Interaction Design

You’ve probably heard of Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines for the Macintosh. I can’t find a link to the 1987 version, but here’s a .pdf of the version from 1995.

Bruce “Tog” Tognazzini wrote it, and it turns out he has a website where he lays out his key principles of interaction design.

Highly Recommended. Also available in Belarusian.

High Tog Rating

After merrily copying across highlights of the six principles I thought were most relevant for non-technical users like me I came across this:

Please contact the author for permission to republish on a web site, to publish in bound form, or to make multiple copies. … I want people to make free and full use of this material, I just don’t want people to claim it as their own or to cynically make money off something that I am attempting to offer for free.

So I’ve contacted him.

In the meantime, I think the best bits are:

  • Anticipation
  • Discoverability
  • Efficiency of the User
  • Explorable Interfaces
  • Metaphors, Use of
  • Protect User’s Work

I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommended resources...