Interface Design Guides


Guidelines for how to best present functionality and organize information within your product or service.

The purpose of these interaction design guides is to help you make design decisions about how to best present functionality and organize information within your product or service. We do this by providing best-practice UX guidelines, interaction design component terminology, behavior, constraints, and suggested usage.

These guides are informed by and encapsulate human factor principles — human physical and cognitive capabilities, strengths, and limitations — and established conventions of human-computer interaction in web sites and web applications.

Before making decisions about how to organize information and functions within your product or service, you should clearly understand the use cases that your product needs to support; who you are designing the product for and what goals they are trying to accomplish. If these are not crystal clear, then please read Understand Your Project.

Guiding Principles

  • Design and build in iterations — Follow a high-level approach described in “Create the Product”; this includes iteratively developing your product and validating your decisions often.
  • Consider the context — At each page, section of a page, or interface element, consider the context. Ask yourself:
    • What is someone trying to do now?
    • Where are they when they are trying to do it?
    • What device are they using?
    • What is their mental model? How are they thinking about what they are trying to do? What language would they use to describe it?
  • Respect human capabilities and needs — Pay attention to usability heuristics.
  • Follow conventions — Follow established UI conventions and build on what users know and are used to.
    • Build on expectations.
    • Consider how you have typically accomplished similar tasks.
    • Don’t get inventive just for the sake of doing something different.

Common Pitfalls

  • Lack of clarity about the purpose of an interaction when making design decisions about it
  • Creating a unique interaction solution when there is an established convention or pattern
  • Waiting too long to evaluate a design. Test early and often
  • Not being concise enough (e.g. with page titles, headers or instructions)


These interface design guides are a subset of design guides originally created by the Kuali Student User Experience Team to aide the development of Kuali Student, an enterprise Student Information System. The Kuali Student guides can still be found here: Kuali Student User Interaction Model.