Objectives in User Interface Design II

I just came across a fantastic document published very recently from the W3C that talks about “best practices” in web design. The document is called “HTML Design Principles,” and I believe it contained a few things that I left out of my last list.

Internationalization

Under the heading of “Support World Languages” is the topic of internationalization. This is extremely important especially if you want your product/application to be usable by the vast majority of the modern world! This doesn’t mean that you need to translate into every language, but there are certain principles such (as mentioned) supporting Unicode to allow for translation.

For you WordPress users I just saw a plugin come through my RSS reader called the “WordPress Global Translator Plugin” which looks exciting and very practical for WordPress sites with an international presence (which is, truly, every site).

Security

While this is only alluded to under “Secure By Design” it is an important topic. The article speaks specifically to the communication between content from different sites.

“Communicating between documents from different sites is useful, but an unrestricted version could put user data at risk. Cross-document messaging is designed to allow this without violating security constraints.”

While security is often thought of in terms of hacking, SQL/script injection, etc. the user interface is the medium which is exposed to these vulnerabilities. Be sure to protect you and your users when designing your interface.

Extension On “Usability”

While I mentioned the topic of usability in my last list, this W3C list talks about “utility” which is ensuring that your application solves real-world problems. There is an aspect to usability to ensure that the application is in fact usable (not overly complex which the W3C mentions as well), but usability means it must return to me some measure of value. Return on investment (ROI) takes on an intangible form when speaking of the usefulness of web applications (as is the popular idiom: “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” speaking to opportunity cost).

In Summary

I was encouraged to discover this list shortly after my last post, and it provided valuable insight to continue rounding out this list. I’m thinking of putting the ideas together into a short pamphlet. We’ll see what time allows.