Three Simple Rules For Interface Design: A Response

Be Like Water, My Friend
When I began this post, I solely had the intention to give some props Seth Godin’s post, First, Do No Harm–Three Rules for Public Interfaces . However, it became somewhat of a therapy post for me to realize I need to release control and flow with the chaos of project development.  Seth’s post is great advice to interface developers and designers to shift focus towards three rules to always remember when developing a public interface.

  • Rule 1: The more often something will be used, the simpler it’s design should be.
  • Rule 2: Keep your interface accessible to the greatest number of people.
  • Rule 3: A good interface just works. It doesn’t call attention to itself simply on the merits of being “designed”.

It’s certainly nice to be reminded of these amidst designer-centricity and user apathy.

These are rules I try to champion, though I’m still guilty of not always applying it to my work. Why is that? Sometimes I’m too self-centered when I’m in the heat of a project, “How do I feel about this design? Does this represent me? Will this look good in my portfolio?” While it’s important let the design be an expression of the designer, it’s absolutely necessary -for a successful interface- to remove one’s self from the equation and take in alternative perspectives. True good design should work so well as to be seamless without kicking you in the head declaring, “Look! Look how well designed I am!” We get so caught up “designing” something we lose sight of who and why we are designing for.

Other times it’s laziness. Simple as that. Accessibility sometimes feels like a chore, or a second-hand task that usually finds a home in the ethereal ditch of a project’s “someday features”. We need to remember to put these goals at the forefront of our process. The wider audience we can reach with one interface the better.

So let’s remember to follow these 3 simple rules and design for the customer.