Basics of UX Design and Usability (Part 2)

UX Design and Usability Guidelines

While UX design principles that are human-centered remain up-to-date for a long time; due to significant changes of technology and social trends, most of UX design and usability guidelines become obsolete. However, guidelines based on physiological and behavioral attributes of human beings (that mostly remain the same) can be used to create standard UX design templates. The following items are some of those “standard” guidelines:

Colors should be used for several purposes such as to get attention, to group items on user interfaces and to show status. But please remember that do not utilize more than 5 colors.

– Sufficiently provide feedback to users. Albeit informative, giving feedback too often will interrupt the user experience. Feedback should be provided in some cases like wrong data entry, long response time (if the waiting time is more than 4 seconds) and needing confirmation or approval from users for further progress. In addition, feedback should be performed in professional and positive language not blaming users.

Default values create convenience, however, they can cause a risk of selecting wrong options. So please be careful!

– Use simple metaphors. Based on users’ profile, the most appropriate and familiar (with them) metaphors should be used.

– Expert users prefer to shortcuts.

– Yayici also claims that usually users focus on faces in the first time they experience a user interface. So he advises not to use face visuals on low-priority areas of interest.

– Users are not subscribers, so please do not ask too much personal information from them at the beginning of an interaction. In the case of collecting user data for CRM purposes, rewards should be sent to them as well as let them know future benefits of providing accurate data. Otherwise, the database may become garbage due to incorrect data.

– Expert users also need customization. The more choices are given, much more time is consumed. Thus, customization should be limited to a certain level to prevent complexity and high time consumption.

– Naturally people divide information into groups; so group content and remember no more than 4 items in each group.

– Good first impression on the main user interface keeps users staying and getting back.

– Users avoid looking at banner areas.

– Use white spaces to separate components and chunks of information.

Radio buttons should not be more than 5; if there more than 5, use select menu instead.

– Use abbreviations only if do users surely know and understand them.

– Include highly accurate search functionality. As UXservices studies, there are about 30-35% of search-oriented population who tend to look for a search box in any application to search for needed items instead of navigating through menus.

– Do not push memory workload to users. Please remind users of the information they need instead of forcing them to remember the details of their previous interaction. For example, if a user got a discount code, it should be automatically displayed in the checkout process when users select payment options with a discount code.

Mobile UX Design and Usability Principles


Source: Google Image

Not only do mobile devices penetrate to our daily lives, but also they play more and more important roles in business activities. For many years mobile products have been positioned as a mini copy of PC versions. A specific illustration is that banks have created a mobile copy of Internet banking called as WAP (wireless application protocol) that only achieved success in term of functionality but completely lacked of usability.

Therefore, in order to successfully develop mobile products, designs of user experience should match the characteristics of mobility. User-centered guidelines should be also applied to mobile UX design as below:

– Due to the smaller size, it is more sensitive in prioritizing and selecting tasks and content in mobile products. Apparently full PC functionality cannot be included in mobile versions; thus, an appropriate subset of features should be chosen to fulfill instant needs (ex: paying bills, checking bank account balance), complete impulse transactions (ex: booking a flight) and get quick information (ex: exchange rates, traffic info).

– Mobile experience is often and easily interrupted by various factors such as an incoming call, e-mail, SMS or even surrounding environment. Hence, users should be able to continue their tasks without starting from the beginning after any interruption.

Mobile transactions should be completed quickly by minimizing text entry and selection, using accelerators, auto-completion and default values.

– Due to security and privacy concerns, do not ask users to register or log in if not really needed.

– Inform users about system status, especially when users have to wait for a while for accomplish their tasks because users are more impatient on mobile devices.

– Use gestures that are natural and easy for users to predict.

Big thumb problem should be considered before deciding the size of buttons and call-to-actions on touch screen devices.

– Apply inverted pyramid method for content. To be specific, summary of the most critical information is together visualized and then details are presented in descending level of importance.

(to be continued)


Yayici, E. (2014) UX design and usability mentor book: With best practice business analysis and user interface design tips and techniques. United States: Emrah Yayici.

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