Below are some random personal notes on UX design I’ve put together over the years. I’ve tried to site sources where it makes sense. This used to be a note on my computer, but I think it makes sense to share it here so others might find it useful.

Systems cannot be purely “simple”. A single button is very simple, but provides no usefulness. Balance simplicity with functionality.

Everything competes for attention.

Contrast is the strongest visual cue (Dondis, Primer on Visual Literacy).

If possible, avoid using lorem ipsum placeholder text in wireframes. It creates extra unnecessary cognitive load on users to decipher the language.

Minimize mouse movement (i.e. drag n’ drop). By minimizing mouse movement, we step around Fitts’ Law and eliminate the need for fine-grain motor control in user interfaces.

Be mindful of unintended consequences. (Kind of an oxymoron, huh?)

User intentions and motivations are more stable than their preferences or actions. Preferences or actions can change when a system is upgraded, but the intentions and motivations rarely change.

Some things just aren’t intuitive: what is an “intuitive” hand gesture to change the color of a square from purple to yellow or duplicate a square? Every new thing has to be learned. (from a talk called Tenets+Traps at Microsoft Build)

Expectations drive attention: sometimes once you see something, you can’t stop seeing it. Especially relevant as a developer of user interfaces. (also Tenets+Traps)

Letters are shapes, too. Sometimes that’s all a foreign language speaker needs. “OK” and “TV” are examples.

Design is biased towards action. If you can’t take action on a problem, it’s not a problem, it’s a circumstance. A lot of people have a problem that isn’t a problem, it’s a circumstance. (adapted from