Design GUIdelines User Experience (UX) topic overview/definition

Design GUIdelines: Concept Definition

Design guidelines are sets of recommendations towards good practice in design, intended to provide clear instructions to designers and developers on how to adopt specific principles, such as intuitiveness, learnability, efficiency and consistency. Design guidelines provide advice on how to achieve a design principle that can be platform-specific, or cross-platform.

A design guideline (e.g. “text should be easy to read”) sits between a principle in design (e.g. “an interface should be easy to use”) and a standard or rule for implementing it (e.g. “background: white; font-color: black; font-size: 20px;”). A design guideline is thus intended to help designers understand how to implement a principle, without restricting their creativity in design, as a rule might.

Design guidelines emerge from various sources. Some are basic common sense, which often get violated. Some are grounded in our understanding of human cognition, or are results of a particular empirical study, or collections of studies. Others are derived from theories of human action. Due to the varied sources and viewpoints from which these are derived, some guidelines may conflict, particularly when applied under different contexts of design (e.g. older users vs. younger users). For this reason, design guidelines are not as generalizable as design principles. The disparity and incompleteness of design guidelines stem from our lack of one unifying theory of interaction – such a theory would probably require a complete understanding of human cognition, which we currently lack.

For your convenience, we’ve collected all UX literature that deals with Design GUIdelines. Here’s the full list: