Cornell University Ergonomics Web


The following points are guidelines to good software interface design, not an absolute set of rules to be blindly followed. These guidelines apply to the content of screens. In addition to following these guidelines, effective software also necessitates using techniques, such as 'storyboarding', to ensure that the flow of information from screen to screen is logical, follows user expectations, and follows task requirements.

  1. Consistency ("Principle of least astonishment")
  2. Simplicity
  3. Human Memory Limitations
  4. Cognitive Directness
  5. Feedback
  6. System messages
  7. Anthropomorphization
  8. Modality
  9. Attention
  10. Display issues
  11. Individual differences

(these guidelines are based on those contained in Hix, D. & Hartson, H.R. (1993) Developing User Interfaces: Ensuring usability through product and process, NY, Wiley. Chap. 2).

Web page design

Download speed is a critical aspect of web page design. Remember that when you check your pages locally in your browser you aren't experiencing normal web delays! Regardless of your modem speed, pages will only download at the fastest rate of the slowest link in the 'chain' from a server to the browser. The following tips will help to speed downloads and aid comprehension of your web page materials:

(above guidelines based on those found at

Additional Interface Design Information


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