A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

User Interface

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Fun with Overflows

Making use of the overflow and scrollLeft DOM property to scroll elements is a much more effective use of the CPU, over animating using CSS top/left. So this episode of J4D demonstrates the same effect used in two completely different ways.

Sharp, Remy. jQuery for Designers (2008). Articles>Web Design>User Interface>Ajax


The Future of User Interfaces

User interfaces—the way we interact with our technologies—have evolved a lot over the years. But there’s still a long way to go and there are many possible directions that future interface designs could take. We’re already seeing some start to crop up and its exciting to think about how they’ll change our lives.

Chapman, Cameron. Six Revisions (2010). Articles>User Interface>Planning>User Experience


The Gap Between 25 Seconds and 5 Seconds

If designers took the perspective of users in the design of air conditioners, perhaps the wait for the cold air would not have been 25 seconds, unless you really think that 25 seconds of waiting time is fun for users.

Jiong, Zhou. uiGarden (2007). Articles>User Interface>User Experience


Gefahrensymbole für Technische Dokumentation

Die Symbolsammlung bietet kostenlos Symbole zur Verwendung in Sicherheitshinweisen bzw. Gefahrenhinweisen an. Sie enthält Dateien im GIF- und EPS-Format. Die Dateien können einzeln oder gesammelt in ZIP-Archiven heruntergeladen werden. Derzeit sind die folgenden Kategorien vorhanden: (1) Gefahrenzeichen oder Warnsymbole, (2) Verbotszeichen, (3) Gebotszeichen, (4) Symbole gemäß Gefahrstoffverordnung (GefStoffV) (5) Rettungszeichen (6) Brandschutzzeichen

Ratz, Günter. CPTec GmbH (2005). (German) Resources>User Interface>Technical Illustration


Generic Commands

Applications can give users access to a richer feature set by using the same few commands to achieve many related functions.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2007). Articles>Usability>User Interface


Get Smart: Interface Design and Production Meet Editorial on a New CD-ROM Magazine   (PDF)

Creating a new magazine is a large task. Creating a new magazine on CD-ROM can be a huge task. All of the design and layout decisions which are part of any project are magnified in an electronic project. Writers and editors have to learn to write “for the screen, ” illustrations have to fit the size, graphics format and palette determined by the display program, every reference, sequence and link has to be checked online, and the whole thing has to run on a “real world” 386 machine. GetSmart made the journey, with its premier issue release in July 1995.

Quesenbery, Whitney. STC Proceedings (1996). Design>User Interface>Editing


Getting Involved in Interface Design   (PDF)

Describes a four-step process to help technical writers gain influence over product design.

Hart, Geoffrey J.S. Intercom (2004). Design>User Interface


Good Lawyers, Bad Products

Lawyers may know their way around a courtroom, but they have no business designing products. Too often, in their zealous pursuit of zero liability, they end up damaging products, alienating customers, destroying companies, and killing people. It's up to you to stop them.

Tognazzini, Bruce. Nielsen Norman Group (2002). Design>User Interface>Legal


Goodbye to 8 Design Elements Whose Time has Come

Last year I welcomed the rattling death knell of several of my least favorite design elements and facets of technology. Some of them have died already, some are dying, and a couple have been recently diagnosed as “terminal.” Looking forward, I think their diminishing presence will make 2014 a better year for experience design.

McKinney, John. UX Magazine (2014). Articles>User Experience>User Interface


Google Voice Search

Google Voice Search allows you to make a telephone call to Google with a search query and get the results on a web page. The purpose of this article is to briefly describe the user experience and investigate the usability implications of this tool.

Rhodes, John S. WebWord (2003). Articles>Web Design>User Interface>Audio


Graphic Design   (PowerPoint)

A primary technique to achieve improved user-interface is clear, distinct, consistent visible language.

Deshpande, Shashank. STC India (2003). Presentations>Graphic Design>User Interface


Graphical Interfaces To Support Information Search: An Annotated Bibliography

This bibliography is organized to provide a structured introduction to graphical interfaces to information systems. Overview articles and 'classic' systems provide background on past work in this field. Systems with Demo Potential can be accessed via the Internet for additional study. Other systems of interest are included, with the more developed or unique systems listed first, and divided between 2D and 3D visualizations. Articles about user-testing or evaluating graphical interfaces are included, as are references to other existing bibliographies on this topic. Where possible, annotations include links to articles in addition to citations, the authors' abstracts and additional comments. Identifying screenshots of systems are included when available.

Staley, Elizabeth. University of Illinois (2000). Resources>Bibliographies>User Interface>Search


Great Designs Should Be Experienced and Not Seen

When things are going well in a design, we don't pay attention to them. We only pay attention to things that bother us. The same is true with online designs. We attend to things that aren't working far more than we attend to things that are. When the online experience frustrates us, we pay attention to its details, often because we're trying to figure out some way to outsmart it.

Spool, Jared M. User Interface Engineering (2009). Articles>Web Design>User Experience>User Interface


A Great UI is Invisible

A user interface that is invisible and that provides seamless interaction possibilities will help the user focus on their goals and direct them to what they need.

Cox, Patrick. Codrops (2013). Articles>User Interface>User Experience>User Centered Design


The Greatest Design of all Time

After a while one of my dining companions asked me what I regarded as the greatest design of all time.

Jordan, Pat. uiGarden (2005). Design>Usability>User Interface


Review: GUI Bloopers 2.0: Common User Interface Design DON'Ts and DO's

GUI Bloopers 2.0 describes common user-interface mistakes found in today's software products and services, and provides design rules and guidelines to avoid them. Johnson describes the design decisions that lead to misuse of controls, poor navigation, prose-riddled labels, bad design and layout, faulty interaction, and poor responsiveness. GUI Bloopers 2.0 is well illustrated with hundreds of examples from real products and online services, and stories from his own experience.

Dick, David J. Usability Interface (2007). Articles>Reviews>User Interface


GUI Versus the Web

Focuses first on the differences between GUI and Web environments, and reveals effective approaches for each that can enable the best possible user experience.

Berry, Dick. IBM (2000). Design>Web Design>User Interface



This site is meant to be an online museum of graphical interfaces, especially those old, obscure and in desperate need of preservation. For those interested in seeing how the GUIs evolved throughout the decades.

GUIdebook (2004). Design>User Interface>Human Computer Interaction


Guidelines for Designing Usable DVD Menus   (PDF)

DVD menus often suffer from serious usability problems, which has a negative impact on the user experience. The reason for this is that there is a lack of design standards. In this paper we describe the development of user interface guidelines for DVD menus and present the final guidelines. In order to obtain usable and applicable guidelines we went through three phases, which included among other usability-engineering methods an expert walkthrough, a ua prototype, and validating and improving the guidelines.

Költringer, Thomas, Martin Tomitsch, Karin Kappel and Thomas Grechenig. University of Vienna (2006). Design>User Interface>Multimedia>DVD


Guidelines on the Common Features of Mobile Phone Interfaces   (PDF)

An ever increasing range of mobile phones are appearing on the market, each with their own features, designs and interfaces. Our extensive experience of working with a wide range of phones suggests that, despite their many differences, there are some user interface requirements common to all mobile phones. These requirements are presented as guidelines below.

Stockbridge, Lucy and Azia Mughal. Serco (2007). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>Mobile>User Interface



When people buy things, they engage in a decision-making process. Research shows that one of the major problems with commerce sites is that they fail in supporting the customers in this process. By understanding their needs and concerns as they progress through the decision-making cycle, we can build better and more successful commerce sites.

GUUUI (2003). Journals>User Interface>User Centered Design


Handheld Devices and the Flow of Functionality

Handheld devices and small appliances pose a unique challenge to the interface designer. The blur between user interface and functionality (interface vs. interaction) is even more pronounced in these environments. The interface of any small device is extremely important; yet, more than ever, the necessity to build in exactly (and only) what is required by the user is extremely important!

Ferlazzo, Ellen Lawson. Sprezzatura Systems (2002). Articles>User Interface>Workflow>PDA


Hands Across the Screen: Why Scrollbars are on the Right and Other Stories

Why are scrollbars on the right, and is it the best place for them? There are good reasons to think that the left-hand side may be the better choice. In this short paper we'll talk about two cases, from which we can find: the best placement does not look right when you see it statically, but feels right when it is used.

Dix, Alan. uiGarden (2005). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>User Interface


The Harmonics of Usability: A Trio of Implications for Software Interface Design   (PDF)

In the world of usability, Thomas Gilbert, human performance engineer; John Bowie, information engineer; and Genichi Taguchi, quality engineer, are singing a three-part harmony. Exemplifying different generations as well as three distinct but overlapping domains, these experts converge at a vantage point from which they should be jointly capable of conducting the whole orchestra. This article explains the contributions each individual has made, directly or indirectly, to the domain of software development.

Sommers, Adele. Usability Interface (2003). Articles>Usability>User Interface


Hidden Settings in Word

If you've been having trouble with Word lately, this could be the reason why!

Craig's Joke Images (2004). Humor>Word Processing>User Interface>Microsoft Word



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