IUI Design Principles

I’m a huge fan of principles, and usually try to define them for every project I work on.

As I’ve worked on “smart” applications, like Recommendation Engines and other intelligent apps I’ve found a few that seem to recur and thought that I’d share. This is by no means exhaustive nor will all of these be applicable for every project… however, here are a few that might be a useful starting point:

Raise people’s acumen

Acumen is roughly defined as the ability to make good decisions, quickly. Where a principle like this works really well are for things like analytical tools. As an example, if you’re designing a dashboard, think about the decisions that someone would make with the data and figure out how you can enable them to make better decisions, faster. Another way that I’ve written this principle is “Help people make smart decisions quickly”.

Reduce Cognitive Load

This is really just a rewording of the age old heuristic “don’t make people remember information” from Jakob Nielsen, but I really like adding some dimension to it (“reduce”), suggesting that it’s measurable.

Support the transition from Creation / Authorship to Review / Approve

As machines get smarter, their ability to create or author content grows. Computers are writing articles, generating images, and creating music. Where we used to build tools for people to create things, the future will require us to think about interfaces for people reviewing & approving content created by machines.

Be transparent, the real job is developing trust

If a machine is going to do something or make a suggestion for a person, they should have the ability to see how that output was chosen. Look for ways to provide some transparency in the system that gives people trust & confidence. This one really does tie nicely to the one above, about supporting a transition from creating to approving.  I’ll share some great examples of this in some upcoming posts.

Strive to provide moments of delight

One the areas that I’m particularly interested in right now is Discovery, as the amount of content (music, movies, apps, etc.) has grown, how do people find things that they’ll really love? I think there are some great opportunities to leverage computational intelligence to delight people with recommendations.

What do you think? Any you’d like to add?


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