A couple of days I was given access to a Notes application that another group wanted us to use. It was a form with two regular tables and a tabbed table with about 6 tabs at the bottom. Every table and every tab in the tabbed table had a different background color and used the gradient fill/shading that you can use with Notes tables. The colors ranged from bright red to orange, dark green, bright blue, brown and some other colors. It was one of those forms that would wake you up when you opened it, and would make you want to reach for your sunglasses. This was obviously done by a developer who loved the fact that he could use colors and gradients for tables and wasn't really focused on function. It made me think about how we could point users to a reference on UI design and although I've looked on the web and I'm sure it exists, I haven't really been able to find a definitive guide to UI design. I did find a couple of points that although they seem obvious, are not followed by a lot of people.
- Consistency in the appearance and behavior of common design elements
- Aesthetic appeal that does not distract from application content
Someone at Lotusphere did ask if we could come out with some standards/guidelines for development, and maybe we need to add this to the wiki as well. Feel free to post comments here on what you consider important in a UI design and maybe if we get enough feedback I can take that list and add it to the Wiki.