Human Interface Guidelines

Human Interface Guidelines: A Framework for Consistent and Intuitive Design

Human Interface Guidelines (HIG) are a set of recommendations and best practices provided by platform creators, such as Apple and Google, to ensure a consistent and intuitive user experience across applications and services on their platforms. These guidelines cover various aspects of design, including visual, interaction, and usability standards, helping designers and developers create applications that align with platform expectations and user needs.

What are Human Interface Guidelines?

Human Interface Guidelines are comprehensive documents that provide detailed instructions on designing user interfaces for specific platforms. They outline the principles, patterns, and conventions that designers should follow to create cohesive and user-friendly experiences. HIGs aim to ensure consistency, improve usability, and enhance the overall user experience by providing a unified design language.

Importance of Human Interface Guidelines

  1. Consistency Across Applications: HIGs ensure that applications within the same platform look and behave consistently, making it easier for users to navigate and interact with different apps.
  2. Improved Usability: By following HIGs, designers can create interfaces that are intuitive and easy to use, reducing the learning curve for users.
  3. Enhanced User Experience: Consistent and user-friendly interfaces lead to a more pleasant and efficient user experience, increasing user satisfaction and engagement.
  4. Brand Integrity: Adhering to HIGs helps maintain the platform’s brand integrity by ensuring that third-party applications align with the platform’s design principles.

Key Components of Human Interface Guidelines

  1. Design Principles: Fundamental principles that guide the overall design approach, such as simplicity, clarity, and consistency.
  2. Visual Design: Guidelines on color schemes, typography, iconography, and layout to ensure a cohesive visual language.
  3. Interaction Design: Recommendations on user interactions, including gestures, animations, and transitions, to create a seamless and intuitive experience.
  4. Usability Standards: Best practices for accessibility, navigation, and user feedback to enhance the usability of applications.
  5. Platform-Specific Elements: Instructions on using platform-specific UI components and patterns, such as Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines for iOS or Google’s Material Design for Android.

Applying Human Interface Guidelines

  1. Study the Guidelines: Thoroughly review the HIGs provided by the platform you are designing for. Understand the principles, patterns, and conventions outlined in the document.
  2. Incorporate Design Principles: Apply the fundamental design principles to your application, ensuring that it aligns with the platform’s overall design philosophy.
  3. Use Platform-Specific Components: Utilize the UI components and patterns recommended by the HIGs to ensure consistency and familiarity for users.
  4. Test for Usability and Accessibility: Conduct usability testing to identify any issues and ensure that your application meets the usability and accessibility standards outlined in the HIGs.
  5. Iterate and Improve: Continuously iterate on your design based on user feedback and testing results, making sure to stay aligned with the HIGs throughout the process.

Real-World Examples

  1. Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines (HIG): Apple’s HIG provides comprehensive guidelines for designing applications on iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. It covers various aspects of design, including visual design, interaction patterns, and usability standards, ensuring a consistent user experience across all Apple platforms.
  2. Google’s Material Design: Material Design is Google’s design language, offering guidelines for creating visually appealing and functional applications on Android and web platforms. It includes detailed instructions on using material components, animations, and interactions to create a cohesive user experience.
  3. Microsoft’s Fluent Design System: Fluent Design System provides guidelines for designing applications on Windows and other Microsoft platforms. It emphasizes light, depth, motion, and material, offering a unified design approach for creating engaging and intuitive user experiences.

Benefits of Following Human Interface Guidelines

  1. Consistent User Experience: Applications that adhere to HIGs provide a consistent user experience, making it easier for users to navigate and interact with different apps on the same platform.
  2. Reduced Learning Curve: By following familiar design patterns and conventions, users can quickly understand how to use new applications, reducing the learning curve and improving usability.
  3. Increased User Satisfaction: Consistent, intuitive, and user-friendly interfaces lead to higher user satisfaction, increasing engagement and retention.
  4. Enhanced Brand Loyalty: Adhering to HIGs helps maintain the platform’s brand integrity, fostering trust and loyalty among users.


Human Interface Guidelines are essential tools for designers and developers, providing a framework for creating consistent, intuitive, and user-friendly applications. By following HIGs, designers can ensure that their applications align with platform expectations, enhance usability, and deliver a superior user experience.

Ondrej Zoricak
Ondrej Zoricak