HCI International 2015
Los Angeles, CA, USA
2-7 August 2015

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T04: A framework of design principles for interface design

Sunday, 2 August 2015, 09:00 - 12:30

Martin Maguire (short bio)
Design School, Loughborough University, United Kingdom



Principles for user interface design have been established for many years. Yet the role they play in the design process is not always clear. Design is often a pragmatic activity that is not necessarily guided by principles so they may just be used, post-hoc, to critique a design. Also as developments in user interface style change, driven by new ideas and technologies, some principles or guidelines may become more appropriate to apply than others, as is the case for different application areas. For example, the most relevant design principles for process control systems may be different from those applicable to mobile applications. Yet it is important to be able to establish a common set of high level principles that are generally applicable across all systems.

The main objectives of this half day tutorial will therefore be:

  • To study the role of principles in user interface design
  • To present a framework of high level principles (based on human psychological needs) and supporting guidelines that can be applied during design and linked to different design activities.
  • To relate the principles to the setting of usability evaluation goals and subjective opinion measures.

It is hoped that the tutorial will enable participants to approach the creation of a user interfaces more confidently and to appreciate how a knowledge of design principles will enhance the usability of designs they produce.


Content and Benefits:

  • This tutorial will include both presentations and practical work. The session will start by discussing the role of principles and guidelines in user interface design and the problems that may be faced applying them
  • The lecturer will then present a set high level principles (based on existing literature and personal experience) with examples from existing applications to show the scope of each principle.
  • The participants will be split up into small groups. Each group will evaluate a simulation of an application using the principles specified and identify possible recommendations for change.
  • The lecturer will then show how the principles can be related to the stages of development of a user interface (e.g. conceptual, wire-framing, interaction design).
  • There will then be a second exercise where the participants will redesign part of the application to improve it, based on the principles described.
  • The session will allow time for questions and discussion with participants as required.


Target audience:

The session will not assume any technical knowledge and will be aimed at inexperienced UX and interaction designers as well as research students in HCI, although it could be of relevance to more experienced practitioners interested in a new perspective on user interface design.

Bio Sketch of Presenter:

As a member of the Loughborough University Design School, Martin has a background in computer studies and ergonomics. His main interests are in the usability of interactive systems including the needs of inexperienced users, older people and people with disabilities. He has been involved in several EU projects to develop human factors tools, methods and guidelines to promote usability within European IT programmes. Martin led the development of the IST (Information Society Technologies) RESPECT User-centred requirements handbook for telematics systems. He has conducted ergonomic appraisals of IT applications and web-based systems for public sector and private organisations in the UK. At the University he teaches HCI and user-experience design.


Context of Use with usability activities
Methods to support human-centred design


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