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  • Writer's pictureCydney Phan

UI: Some Guiding Principles

When looking at both the Apple and the Google Interface Design Guidelines, I personally was struck at how different they both were. Which led me to question: how to design a pleasant overall layout that could transition well between both android and Apple platforms?

Overarching Guiding Principles

Giving Them What They Want: 

Be cognizant of the functions of buttons and the information architect. When the navigation layout is different from what the user actually expects could easily cause confusion and frustration when using the platform. The major term to achieve this is: consistency. When design elements are consistent, users are able to interact with the platform easier and faster.

Simple Minimalism:

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” Albert Einstein

When a user interacts with anything (mobile, tablet, web, etc), having unnecessary elements are guaranteed to deter the users' experience. Unusable elements are reduced to decoration when it comes to UI design, and those decorations could interfere and be misconceived as a functional element: leading to frustration and users clicking around the page nonsensically.

Keeping things simple, also means being aware of difficult tasks. When large task is too difficult to perform, it runs of risk of user frustration and cancellation before  finishing their task. To overcome this, break this larger task into smaller more manageable subtasks.


Design for the most technologically illiterate! When creating and naming elements, don't assume the user will understand any designer or developer lingo. People are busy and are not going to ruminate about complex word choices and long sentence structures. Texts elements should be easy to understand and apart of everyday speech for easier and faster navigation. For example: I've always gotten so immensely frustrated when I got an "can't process because of error: 4333", because I wanted to know how to fix it. "Error: 4333" doesn't mean anything to me unless I was a technician or had a owner's manual and both of those are as unlikely as the downfall of the internet.

User Feedback

It is incredibly important for the user to get either validation or error messages. Error messages, though are most likely a sign of a design problem, will be able to guide the user into where they're supposed to be/ do. This feedback allows users to quickly learn the navigational process of the platform and make ease of interaction more intuitive in the future.

Validation of a finished task is also equally important (dare I say, even more arguably important). Highlighted icons, quick vibrations and sounds give users small gratification and confidence that whatever task they performed has been successfully finished. It's the ease and security that the user feels when they go to bed knowing that their alarm clock will actually go off when it's needed.


Let's be honest, people don't like to think too hard: I MOST CERTAINLY am one of those people.  This doesn't discredit the intelligence of others, but technology is supposed to make life easier, not the other way around. The task should be laid out in a manner that can be completed in the shortest amount of time as possible. Patterns and consistency (theres that word again) is a big component for navigational layout, as learnability is best achieved through simplicity and repetition.

UI is comprised of "user centric designs" and must put the user mentality first. If that means putting function before aesethetic than so be it!

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