Human interface guidelines (HIG) are software development documents that offer
application developers a set of recommendations. Their aim is to improve the
experience for users by making application interfaces more consistent and
hence more intuitive and learnable.
Learn more about the philosophy behind the KDE HIG
- Core usability goals, Use cases / User requirements, Task aggregation
- Personas, Scenarios, Usability criteria, Feature list
- Arrange associated controls by using a labeled group box or an unlabeled frame.
- Allow users to resize aligned groups by placing a splitter between the groups.
- Use tabs to show related information on separate pages.
- Provide an accordion (aka tool box) for different views to content.
- Use a list view to show some items out of one category.
- Use a tree view to show items with a single, natural, hierarchical categorization.
- If you really need to create your own widget follow the guidelines for custom controls.
- Double check the guidelines about plotting diagram/charts.
Editing and Manipulation
- Use radio buttons for selection of 1 out of a few items.
- Use one or more check boxes for clear options or to select items out of a small number of options.
- Use a drop-down list for selection of 1 out of a small number of items.
- Use a combo box to select 1 out of a small number of items where users should be able to add items.
- Use a list view to select 1 singular item out of a potentially big list.
- Apply the dual list pattern for several selections out of a large number of (multiple) items.
- Provide a line edit to enter one line of text.
- Provide a text edit to enter multiple lines of texts.
- Use a table view to arrange data in rows and columns with inline editing feature.
- Use a spin box for numerical input within a range and with fix steps.
- Use a slider for arbitrary changes within a defined range.
- Apply the slider and spin box pattern for numeric input with both large changes and precise control.
- Use date and time pickers for formatted input of datum, time of day, or periods etc.
- Provide tool-tips for user driven information.
System triggered notification
- Show a modal message dialog if the processing has reached an unexpected condition that needs interaction.
- Support the user by an elaborated interface or per help system.
- Place controls carefully with proper size and space between.
- Carefully place control according the KDE alignment style.
- Do not use color as primary method of communication.
- Choose icons from the Oxygen icon set and follow guidelines on icon design.
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A guide to the guide can be found at the about page.
Our Human Interface Guidelines are a work in progress and we need your help. Visit the Contributing page to report problems or get involved.