Golden Rules of Interface Design

Golden Rules of Interface Design

Yingxin Lyu

First of all , I want to apply some key concepts1 to WeChat application. WeChat application has done a good job in sticking to the eight golden rules of interface design. The first rule is to strive for consistency. WeChat has its theme colors green and white, which are the two color of its icon. Thus, these two colors become important elements to construct the main user interfaces of the app. The background of the user interface is white, and icons at the bottom are green when being chosen and white otherwise. In the chat user interface, the colors of text bubbles of two sides are green and white. Moreover, font design and size are identical according to different functions, and menu style keeps the same in the app.

Secondly, the app is friendly to novice, intermittent users, and experts. The four main interfaces are guided four patent icons at the bottom and they are sequenced by frequency. The most frequently used is chat user interface with a “add” icon at the top of the interface, so a novice can easily find it, add friends, and chat, even if he or she does not discover any other functions. In addition, the chat interface is the same as text interface of smartphones, so users can learn how to use it very quickly. For expert users, the place of each function is fixed and the classification is reasonable and learnable. They can use most of the frequent functions within about three steps.

Thirdly, in the recent year, WeChat offered a new function, that is, users can retract their messages in two minutes. It is the proof that the app tried to permit easy reversal of actions. The new function is very surprising and user-friendly. Sending a text to a wrong person or sending the message with mistakes really make people annoyed anxious, but now WeChat offer users to correct their errors, to retract their mistaken messages, which may be a strong wishes for many people for many years.

The last rule that WeChat sticks to is to reduce short-term memory load. Every picture and video received through WeChat will be downloaded and saved in the phone, so the user only need to download them once, and then they will become long-tem memories. Moreover, pictures and videos shared by friends in Moments will also be download and saved, so it also reduces short-term memory. Thus, the app will occupy a quite big part of smartphone storage after using for years. The prerequisite of saving all these kinds of materials is to click the materials and let the app to down load them, or these materials will be deleted automatically in about three days.

For the second part of the question, I think nowadays touchscreens become a large part among all kind of technologies that carries software and networks because they shortened the translational distances, providing people with chances to have a closer interaction with devices. In the future, the distance will become shorter and lead people to stronger direct manipulation2. People prefer to interact with touchsreens, so designers transfer software controlled by mouse and keyboard to finger controlled one. With various technologies, like pixel map, transparent conductive layers, designers let users’ fingers to take the job of the mouse, causing the situation more and more simulated.

In order to design an interface for users, designers must anticipate users’ behaviors and psychology when communicating with the interface. However, it is impossible to anticipate every possible situation, so designers will make the interface familiar, understandable, and learnable. I still remember my first time using an iPhone, because there were only four buttons, I tried to press tese one until on the screen there showed “slide to unlock the iPhone.” This is a good instruction that guides users to the right way. Now, Apple removed home button, and invented new gestures to use “full screen” iPhones. This time it will be hard for me to try to press the buttons to activate the iPhone, so Apple provides an instruction for new users after their just completing setting up new iPhones. Anyfeature matches interface design rules will make the interface learnable and user-friendly. So I think they are important and practical things that are necessary to learn and keep in mind.



  1. Ben Shneiderman, Catherine Plaisant, et al. Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction. 6th ed. Boston: Pearson, 2016.
  2. Ibid.