On this page we provide access to a number of Standards and Guidelines that pertain either specifically to the HCI community, or in a more broader sense to HCI-related topics. Additional information on HCI standards can be found from many of the key standards organizations such as ANSI, IEC, ISO and the IEEE. For those interested in obtaining hard copies of specific government and industry standards, the Document Centre is a good place to visit.
There are five major sections within the Standards and
Guidelines page. Section 1, General, details
links that contain fairly generic content about HCI and Usability
Engineering. The next section, Web Based,
contains items of interest to those developing applications and
web pages for the world wide web. The third section, Operating Systems, contains HCI guidelines
specific to individual operating systems and environments.
Section 4, Gov't and International, provides
links to standards organizations within the US government and the
international community. Finally, NASA,
contains a few links to standards developed by NASA which have
application to more "earthly based" development
This section contains links that are not specific to any
particular platform, operating system, or organization. Here you
will find various topics pertaining to HCI standards and
development guidelines that individual companies have written as
well as various special interest groups within the HCI community.
|Ameritech User Interface Guidelines||Ameritech Corp.|
Consistency across interfaces reduces learning time, improves
performance, and reduces accidental errors. In order to bring
consistency to the many, many products and systems that are in
development at any given time, Ameritech's human factors
department has produced an evolving set of design guidelines.
|Guidelines for Designing User Interface Software||Smith & Mosier|
Known as the S&M guidelines, these are considered to be
the most comprehensive and widely used guidelines for HCI.
Available in PostScript
Additional information can be found in this README.
version of the guidelines is also available for Macintosh.
|Human-Computer Interaction Guidelines||IBM Corporation|
Covers general user interface design, web design techniques
and IBM's latest set of guidelines providing information on
creating 3D interfaces.
|Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Special Interest Group (SIG)||American Society for Information Science (ASIS)|
SIG/HCI serves practical and theoretical interests in
research, design, development and evaluation of how human beings
use and communicate with computers. Interests include on-line
users and their behavior; the observable capabilities and
performance of the interactive computer system; and the
characteristics of the human-computer interface. SIG/HCI
encourages the development and refinement of on-line interaction
models to highlight common features in existing or proposed user
interfaces. Major emphasis is on the interface with networks and
various on-line information storage and retrieval applications,
but other information-processing and display systems are also
|Standards and Legislation||system concepts ltd|
Getting to grips with national and international standards in
HCI is more of a black art than a science. Documents reside all
across the globe and are poorly indexed and cross-referenced.
Standards development can sometimes depend as much on the
individual personalities of the people involved as upon technical
issues. Experts outside the standardisation process have strong
and valuable views, but fail to contribute because the process of
standardisation is confusing and bureaucratic. On this page we
provide easy access to information on HCI standards.
|Usability Standards||European Usability Support Centres|
Standards related to human-centered design fall into two
categories, process-oriented, which specify procedures and
processes to be followed, and product-oriented, that specify
required attributes of the user interface. Some product oriented
standards specify the requirements in terms of performance rather
than product attributes. These standards describe the users,
performance and satisfaction to be achieved.
Much of the recent HCI development seems to be geared toward
the world wide web and internet related applications. The
following section provides a number of links to various papers
and documents discussing standards and guidelines for use in web
based development projects.
of a Great Website
John Sumser (editor)
|1996 Electronic Recruiting Index|
Chapter excerpted from the 1996 Electronic Recruiting
Index. Usability, marketing, authenticity, entertainment
value, content, net awareness, and some do's and don'ts in
Most Serious Web Design Pitfalls
D. Philip Haine
E Business, 3/1/98.
Most web sites are cluttered, confusing and less than helpful.
Five broad design errors account for the most common and serious
interface issues on today's web sites. Haine helps you find ways
to avoid these pitfalls.
InfoWorld Electric, December 15, 1997.
More often than not, companies design Web sites with their
marketing and business objectives in mind, rather than their
customers' needs. Radosevich shows you how to let visitors to
your Web site cut through the document maze by having you
understand the fundamentals of Web design.
the Bar: 9 Principles for Improving a
Business-To-Business Web Site
Laurie Windham and Jon Samsel,
E Business, 7/1/98.
Windham and Samsel believe business-to-business Web sites must
enable users to perform their jobs better, and productive Web
sites must have a depth and breadth of content. Also, a site must
hold a viewers attention, empower them, and cause them to
want to come back. They state nine principles that may improve
the effectiveness of your business-to-business Web.
Deadly Web Site Sins (And Why You Must Avoid Them at All
ZD Net AnchorDesk, January 30, 1998
|ZD Net AnchorDesk|
You can't have Web success if nobody will visit your site. So
Jesse Berst offers you these rules: this list of Web site sins
you must never be guilty of committing. This is a good site to
read for business who want to design their own sites.
|The Industry Standard: Does Your Site Work? Ask a Usability Guru||E. Business|
Users only care about content and a site's usability is more a
function of how it's managed than of how it's designed. Pescovitz
points out some classic mistakes to avoid when managing a Web
|The Navigation and Usability Guide||WEBREVIEW.COM|
The people at Web Review decided to consult some web design
experts. They read Information Architecture for the World Wide
Web, Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville's book about designing
large sites. Then they took an advance look at Jennifer Fleming's
upcoming book, Web Navigation: Designing the User Experience.
Finally, they linked to the Web itself and checked out Jakob
Nielsen's collected usability wisdom from the Alertbox column.
After reading several books and web articles, they figured out a
set of navigation and usability rules. Designing Web navigation
systems can be a complicated task, but Web Review has boiled it
down to a simple 12-step program.
|The 5 I's
of a Good Website
|Bock Information Group, Inc.|
Wally Bock believes a good Web site needs to do the following.
It should have lots of information. It should allow individuals
to use the information when and as they choose. It should make
the information and the site as interesting as possible. It
should be interactive in a variety of ways. It should be
integrated with a company's entire marketing and business plan.
|Usable Web: Guidelines||Usable Web|
This site contains a compilation of navigation and usability
guides. There are 28 links contained within this page. The links
range from 85 Tips For Web Designers to Yale C/AIM WWW Style
|Usable Web: Web Site Usability: A Designer's Guide||E. Business|
The authors of this conducted more than 50 usability tests on
nine different web sites. This book describes how well (and
poorly) some information-rich sites actually work when people use
them to find specific answers. Provides guidelines based on
actual usability data.
Usability Engineering, Part 1
Web Techniques, April 1997.
Discussion with two experts in computer-interface design about
quality and usability, and with specific techniques for
engineering usability into your site.
Usability Engineering, Part 2
Web Techniques, June 1997.
Discussion of usability and computer-interface design showing
how to test for usability and avoid common pitfalls. http://www.webtechniques.com/features/1997/06/helinski/helinski.shtml
|12 Web Page Design Decisions Your
Business Will Need to Make
by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson.
Ralph Wilson helps guides business owners through the process
of designing a system of Web pages. He hopes that when his
clients are finished, they will know a lot more about what goes
into Web page design. He also hopes that his clients will use a
set of design decisions to guide their own HTML development
effort. Ralph Wilson claims that he has gotten thousands started
in business website design.
A good deal of how the user interacts with a software
application is dependent to some degree on the operating system
and language the application is written in. Contained within
these sections are specific standards and guidelines for building
GUIs in Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh and Unix.
|Operating Systems : Microsoft Windows||Top|
|The Microsoft Dynamic HTML (DHTML) Specification||Microsoft Corporation|
Microsoft is a staunch supporter of dynamic web
content, through its VB scripting technologies and Active Server
Page technologies. These technologies are used by Microsoft and
owners of Microsoft products to make their web pages "come
alive." This usually implies that they are made a lot more
graphical in some fashion, by having widgets or other graphical
components added to the page. These also allow the HTML to be
dynamically created at runtime by the user doing some action.
This link then is important to those of you interested in
developing usability from the web via Microsoft technologies.
|The Microsoft Windows Guidelines for
Accessible Software Design
Personal computers are powerful tools that
enable people to work, create, and communicate in ways that might
otherwise be difficult or impossible. The vision of making
computers easier for everyone to use, however, can only be
realized if people with disabilities have equal access to
personal computing. The information contained in this document represents
the current view of Microsoft Corporation on the issues
pertaining to accessible software.
|The Microsoft Win32 Technical Specification||Microsoft Corporation|
At the heart of the Microsoft Operating System
and application product base is the 32-bit Windows Technical
Specifications. These include how applications should run on
32-bit Windows systems, including Windows95, WindowsNT4, and
Windows98. Contained within, is everything from how graphical
applications should be built, how they should operate, to how
disk systems should be accessed and when. There is a lot of
material here, so using their search capability is strongly
suggested if you are looking for something in particular.
|The Microsoft XML Resources and Information Page||Microsoft Corporation|
Microsoft has made a very clear commitment to
building future versions of their applications, as well as
current versions XML compliant. XML is a subset of SGML as HTML
is, however it lends itself to letting clients interpreting it to
utilize dynamic discovery. This allows clients that are working
with XML files to dynamically discover at the time they read the
file what it is, and how they should go about processing it.
Since it is possible and intended to convey graphical information
(i.e. widgets, and the like), within the XML context, it is
appropriate to start to consider the usability concerns of how
graphical interface and related information is structured. Note
that Microsoft does not own the XML specification, it is an open
standard maintained by the World Wide Web (WWW) consortia.
|The Windows Interface Guidelines for
A complete discussion of interface guidelines
when using Microsoft Windows including: Fundamentals of Designing
User Interaction, Design Specification and Guidelines, and
Windows Interface Components. The User Interaction section deals
with such topics as: the Windows environment, input basics and
other general interaction techniques. The Design Specification
section introduces window management, working with OLE objects
and user assistance. Finally, the last section presents topics on
Windows itself: the menus, controls and toolbars, as well as how
to handle secondary windows, etc.
|Operating Systems : Apple Macintosh||Top|
|Mac OS 8 Human Interface Guidelines||Apple Computer, Inc.|
New supplement to Macintosh Human Interface Guidelines will
help you take advantage of Mac
OS 8 and beyond.
|The Apple Macintosh Graphics and Media Specifications||Apple Computer, Inc.|
Apple also maintains several other sets of
specifications. One we felt was most important besides the User
Interface guidelines were the graphics and multimedia
specifications, because so many training and related applications
are built on these technologies. If you are looking to design and
build applications that are to be used on Macintosh machines to
train and coach people, you might think to look at these
|The Apple Macintosh User Interface Specifications||Apple Computer, Inc.|
Apple computer made history in 1984, when it
released the highly acclaimed Apple Macintosh computer line. By
far, the strongest part of this whole machine, Operating System,
and API is its very consistent and well thought out user
interface. Application developers went on to create very high-end
robust and rich applications, but it is the User Interface
guidelines that Apple released and has since been maintaining,
that bind all the applications together. By using these
guidelines, the developers all build their applications to a
common set of characteristics, which in turn allows users to
train in less time, and utilize more capability in an application
|Operating Systems : Unix-based||Top|
|The Motif Standard||Motif|
Motif is the most widely used implementation
standard that runs on the Unix platform. This set of guidelines
outlines how widgets are to be set up, what they should look
like, and how they should be used in applications. This
specification is very large, as it was formed by a large
consensus. This specification is also very specific and detailed.
The Common Desktop Environment (CDE) is based on this
specification. Some view implementations of Motif as a
"toolkit" from which to build heterogeneous
|The X/Open Desktop Offering||X/Open|
The X/Open group provides a high-level screen
and diagram for how the above technologies plug together to form
a "desktop" for use on any machine, and in conjunction
with any Operating System, and raw graphical hardware. If you are
interested in seeing these technologies at a higher level, then
please visit this link first.
|The X-Windows Standard||X-Windows|
X-Windows is one of the most important
windowing environments ever specified. Not only does it provide
all means by which to design and build graphical interfaces on an
architecture neutral platform, it also provides the key
"remote" client/server processing model for event-based
usability. Many have used X11 as a model from which to design
distributed graphical applications, since the specification lends
itself to this so well.
|Gov't and International||Top|
A good deal of software development standards come out of
government projects and initiatives and the International
Standards Organization (ISO). HCI is no exception.
|Applications Portability Profile - NIST 500-187|
US government standard on interoperability and portability of
computer applications. The User Interface Component of the APP is
important to those involved in HCI issues. Dealing with the
protocols, libraries, and intrinsics of the X Window System, this
is a component of the document (FIPS PUB 158-1). Also available
in plain text.
|Guidance on Usability - ISO 9241-11 (draft)|
This draft standard details the specification and measurement
of usability in context. Also available as a Postscript
|Human Engineering Requirements for Military Systems, Equipment and Facilities - MIL-STD-1472|
U.S. Department of Defense. Military Standard: Human
Engineering Design Criteria for Military Systems, Equipment and
Facilities. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office,
March 14, 1989. MIL-STD-1472 is the "bible" for Human
Factors engineering on US government contracts. The standard is
available in Macintosh hypercard form as MIL-STK-1472D.
Additional availability can be found in this README.
|ISO 9241, Ergonomic Standards for Office Work with Visual Display Terminals|
This site provides access to all sections of ISO 9241.
However, interested readers can only obtain copies (or copies of
sections) for a fee. Prices are noted.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has very
stringent standards for both software and hardware used in a
space environment. Much of their research is applicable on earth
as well as these links demonstrate.
|Human-Computer Interface Guidelines||Carlow International Incorporated|
This document presents user interface guidelines specifically
addressing graphic/object oriented interfaces operating in either
a distributed or independent systems environment. Developed for
NASA by Carlow International Incorporated.
|NASA Software Engineering Standards Link Page (including Usability Engineering)||NASA|
This is a link to a page that is maintained by
NASA that points to all of the standards bodies that they follow
when developing software and interfaces. Since they are usually
such a good role model in building software and interfaces, we
decided to provide this link in the hopes that if our pages
dont directly answer your questions or address your
concerns, then these might.
|NASA User Interface Implementation Guidelines||NASA|
NASA, a leader in software engineering
practices and standards has published a user interface
implementation set of guidelines for use with systems that are
critical in nature, such as vehicle systems. The specification is
extensive and has a lot of suggestions that would be well used in
any user interface implementation.
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This page was last modified on 10/12/1998.