Shneiderman's Eight Golden Rules of Interface Design

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  • 0:04 Improving with Time
  • 0:35 Who is Shneiderman?
  • 1:14 What is Interface Design?
  • 1:45 The Eight Golden Rules
  • 2:54 How the Rules Are Used
  • 3:47 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: David Gloag

David has over 40 years of industry experience in software development and information technology and a bachelor of computer science

With the computer becoming a larger part of our daily lives, it is no wonder that considerable work has gone into making them easier to use. In this lesson, we'll take a look at one researcher, Ben Shneiderman, his work, his golden rules, and how these rules are used.

Improving with Time

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to use common items in your household? It wasn't always that way. In fact, you only have to go back to your grandparents' time to get a much different picture. Remember your grandfather's old Ford and the three-in-the-tree manual gear shift, your grandmother's old wood-burning stove, or your auntie's old black and white television? Use of these items was considerably different from their counterparts today. Why? Because people like Ben Shneiderman pioneered the area of user interfaces, which led to the improvements we see today.

Who Is Shneiderman?

Ben Shneiderman is a computer scientist in the United States of America, born in 1947. He is a distinguished professor at the University of Maryland, whose primary interests include human-computer interaction, user interface design, information visualization, and social media. He founded the Human Computer Interaction Lab at the University in 1983, and was the director of the lab until 2000. He has been academically honored on numerous occasions, most recently becoming a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) in the US. His pioneering work on the highlighted textual link became part of Hyperties, an ancestor to the Internet.

What Is Interface Design?

Interface design, or user interface design, as it is commonly known in computer circles, is the study of methods that facilitate the smooth interaction or use of produced items. The area focuses on reducing the number of controls, placing them in locations that promote easy use, and providing constant feedback. In other words, simplifying the operation of the item. Think of the remote for your television, the steering column controls for your vehicle, or the brewing adjustments on your coffee maker. Each has been made easy through good user interface design.

The Eight Golden Rules

Shneiderman formalized this idea for human-computer interactions and developed eight golden rules for interface design. They are as follows:

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