UI Design Mantras

design is design is design

What you’re doing is problem solving. Never lose sight of that. You’re designing not decorating. You’re facilitating understanding.

stop solving other people’s problems

Remember that the work you’re doing in UI design of any kind, in any aspect is specific to your industry. Your problem your audicience.

form doesn’t (and souldn’t) follow function

Pure functionality should never dictate what something looks like. What should dictate it, is the context in which a person needs to be able to use it.

every force evolves form

Every aspect of working on anything right down to the politics in your office dictate what final form looks like. You have to adjust the way you work along the way to accomodate those forces

on small screens, less is more

Anytime you’re migrating a large app or a large enterprise system to a mobile app you have to be really cognizant of what really needs to be there. When people are dealing with small screens, they only have so much time attention and ability to use what they see.

balance creates visual order + signals relationships

When you’re arranging elements on the screen you want to strive for balance that allows them to move through it in the right way. Tha tallows them to sense what’s related to what along with what it means.

visual rhythm speeds comprehension and use

It’s a tremendously important component of everything you will ever design

good design is held together by harmony

There needs to be harmony in UI design so that all the elements work together with each other as opposed to against each other

dominance directs user focus

Never forget to pay attention to the most dominant element on the screen and whether or not it’s your intended point of focus.

align everything with everything else

When in doubt, align everything with everything else. The power of alignment is a massive force. It’s one of the most potent tools you have to create excellent UI design and positive user experiences.

If you do nothing but pay more attention to negative space, putting more space between things that are unrelated and less space between things that are related, ease of use skyrockets.

use color to communicate + influence interaction

Color should never be subject to your personal opinion. You should never pick colors because they look cool and you should always be cognizant of the fact that refracted light from a screen combined with heavy color saturation typically makes it very hard to use a interface.

choose color based on associations, emotions and brand

Those are the starting points for choosing colors in the interface.

contrast always wins

If color starts the fight, contrast finishes it. There nothing more powerful.

typography should be purposefully designed

This is about much mor ethan simply choosing a font. You need to be aware of what those letters communicate and whether or not the letter forms and the fonts that you choose enable pattern recognition and readability.

icons must be recognizable and memorable

Don’t reinvent the wheel. If there’s a common associated icon first interaction don’t stray from that.

context of use dictates visual form

Never forget that, where data is concerned. What do I need to do or communicate with this data.

simpler is better

That’s always true

work to separate content from controls

You want clear differences between what people can read and see and what they can act on.