Human Interface Guidelines

These guidelines are designed to help developers and designers create a beautifully consistent experience on the elementary desktop. They were written for interface designers, graphic artists and software developers who will be working on elementary OS. They will not only define specific design elements and principles, but will also instill a philosophy that will allow you to decide when it is appropriate to deviate from the Guidelines. Adhering to the suggestions contained here will provide many benefits:

  • Users will learn to use your application faster because it shares common elements that they are already familiar with.
  • Users will accomplish tasks more quickly because you will have a straight-forward interface design that isn't confusing or difficult.
  • Your application will appear native to the desktop and share the same elegant look as default applications.
  • Your application will be easier to document because an expected behaviour does not require explanation.
  • The amount of support you will have to provide, including bugs filed, will be lessened (for the reasons above).

To help you achieve these goals, these guidelines will cover basic interface elements, how to use them and put them together effectively, and how to make your application integrate well with the desktop. The most important thing to remember is that following these guidelines will make it easier to design a new application, not harder.

However, keep in mind that this is a guideline, not a rulebook. New, amazing interaction paradigms appear every day and more are waiting to be discovered. This is a living document that can and will be changed. 

For sections that have not yet been written, please refer to The GNOME HIG

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