User Interface Design and Usability Resource

Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) focuses on the design, assessment and usage of interactive computing systems for humans, as well as the important factors encompassing them.

Technology has now evolved to the point that computers appear in a variety of objects, not just that laptops and PCs. Computers can be an important part of a microwave oven, an automobile, or even nestled in the cockpit of an airplane. Humans interact with them in many different ways such as through keyboards, touchscreens or even gestures, just to name a few. Understanding how to make them easier for humans to use has been the focus of many people and organizations, but especially of web designers and webmasters.

In this guide we have compiled the top resources available today to help anyone who wants to build a user interface that is intuitive, yet easy to use for all levels of computer enthusiasts.

Books, Publications and Papers

  • Boxes and Arrows – This peer-written journal goes beyond stereotypes and challenging limits; includes case studies on UI design, interviews and product reviews.
  • ACM SIGCHI – Professional organization for academics and industry folks working in HCI.  Publishes a large number of books, magazines, journals and conference proceedings regarding HCI.
  • Nielsen Norman Group – Designing today is not just about following instincts and randomly throwing about interface without applying any thoughts. Eliminate guesswork and rely on NNG’s ground-breaking reports, research and articles regarding user experience.
  • UX Magazine – A free community resource with informative and original content due to the collaboration with industry thought leaders.
  • HCI Journal - A famous journal for HCI practitioners with archives of past issues.
  • Interface Design Handbook – A practical introduction to interface design by Clayton Lewis and John Rieman from the University of Colorado.
  • Smashing Magazine - Top website for the latest UX articles and information.
  • The IxD Library - A site that showcases books, articles and presentations on interaction design.
  • UXPin Library - A collection of free UI/UX e­books with references to a large assortment of more UI/UX books.

User Interface Design Style Guides - Industry Style Guides

  • The UX Blog – A list of style guides and and UI guidelines for a number of operating systems and platforms.
  • Amazon App Guidelines – A document that provides guidelines for designing and creating user experiences for applications for Amazon devices.
  • Pattern Tap – A living classroom that enables designers to discover what works and why.
  • The Pattern Library – An extensive collection of UI patterns.
  • UI Patterns – A collection of user interface design patterns with tips on problems connected to each.
  • UX Matters – An eye-opening chapter from Designing with the Mind in Mind: Simple Guide to Understanding User Interface Design Guidelines, Second Edtion; offers a variety of style guides and resources based on the methodology and platform.
  • Wireframes - A site that covers all things sketching, wireframing and design patterns.

Mobile User Interface Design

  • – A collection of more than 450 apps that demonstrate ease of use, great design and simplicity.
  • – As apps and operating systems continue to evolve and feature more and more motion, a kinetic pattern library captures and preserves delightful iOS animations. Experience the fleeting transitions between app screens.
  • Mobile Pattern – Provides design inspiration for iPhone and Android apps.
  • Pttrns – A classic collection assembled by a close-knit group of curators, Pttrns offers a holistic assortment of mobile design patterns, inspiration and resources. Includes iPad and iPhone user interface patterns demonstrating several app elements, such as discovery, launch, lists and share.
  • UX Archive – Helps designers create the best user experience by learning from other apps what works and what doesn’t, including patterns. Enables designers to visualize all the flows and steps at a time to easily compare them. However, the site only archives user flows from iPhone 4S and iPhone.
  • Earcons and Multimodal Interaction Group – contains information on research into multimodal human-computer interaction in the Glasgow Multimodal Interaction Group which is part of GIST. They are doing a lot of work on audio and haptic (touch or force-feedback) interaction and mobile computing devices.

Web Design Style Guides

Useful User Interface Design and HCI References - Other References

  • Alertbox – Contains Current Issues in User Interface Design by Jakob Nielsen at SunSoft.
  • The HCI Index – Links to several sites in the human-computer interface and ergonomics; includes several categories.
  • Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL) – In the University of Maryland, does research on advanced user interfaces and development processes. Interdisciplinary research teams study the whole technology development life-cycle, including the initial technology design, implementation issues and evaluation of user performance.
  • The Human-Computer Interaction Group – From the Computer Science Department at York University in the UK; follows research into the design and evaluation of interactive systems. 

Associations and Organizations

  • The Center for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI) – An Independent Research Center founded in 1983 by researchers from Stanford University, SRI International, and Xerox PARC (now PARC). They are devoted to research in the emerging science of information, computing, and cognition.
  • Human Systems Integration Information Analysis Center (HSIIAC) – Formerly Crew System Ergonomics Information Analysis Center (CSERIAC). Provides Human Systems Integration (HSI) information and analysis services in support of research, design, development, test, and evaluation of human-operated systems.
  • Human Interface Technology Lab (HIT Lab) – A research and development lab at the University of Washington that focuses on human computer interfaces and virtual interface technology.
  • PARC – The Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), a subsidiary of Xerox Corporation, conducts pioneering interdisciplinary research in physical, computational, and social sciences.
  • WebABLE – The authoritative site for disability-related internet resources.
  • The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) – The main resource for web-related design. Develops interoperable technologies like specifications, guidelines, tools and software to bring the web to its full potential. 

Web App User Onboarding and User Interface

  • User Onboarding – Contains teardowns, advice, training and more on effective user onboarding.
  • GoodUI – Tried and tested user interfaces using A/B testing and more.
  • Ui Parade – An online catalog featuring the world’s most talented UI designers that offers inspiration for interface designs. They also offer UI designer and developer resources, tools and workflows.
  • SiteInspire – An online gallery of the best examples of web and interactive design.

Mobile App User Onboarding & User Interface

General App Resources

  • Open Web Apps – An introduction to UX principles for open web apps, with links to examples and style guides.
  • UX User Experience Stack Exchange –  A question and answer website for user experience experts and researchers that is free and doesn’t require registration.

App Design and Copy

  • Android Niceties – A compilation of screenshots showcasing some of the best looking Android apps in order to offer inspiration and Android UI convention insights.
  • Little Big Details – An assemblage featuring the finer details of design, which is updated daily by its creator, Floris Dekker, product design lead at, and Andrew McCarthy, a digital designer and developer.
  • Sketch 3 – Sketch 3 incorporates one-unit styles relevant to UI design, with a built-in preview tool, Mirror and Artboards, for iPhone, offering a simple and effective method of using a template to create multiple screens. 

IBM User Interface Links

  • IBM Ease of Use Page – IBM's Ease of Use web page that helps designers understand user experiences through the discipline of user engineering, supported by design guidelines, services, tools, and many other related materials.
  • IBM Web Design Guidelines – Contains guidelines for creating easy-to-use Web interfaces.
  • IBM Accessibility Center – A part of the IBM Special Needs Systems group, created in 2000 to apply research technologies to solve problems experienced by people with disabilities. 

Microsoft User Interface Links

  • Microsoft Usability Research – Includes information about how Microsoft conducts usability evaluation.
  • MSDN User Interface – Provides best practices for designing for Microsoft products; a valuable resource for developers using Microsoft products, tools and technologies. It also includes technical programming information like sample code, technical articles, documentation and reference guides. 

Apple User Interface Links

Linux/UNIX User Interface Links

  • – Tutorials, template and more for developers and designers.
  • Linux Graphics Libraries – A comprehensive resource for links to a variety of APIs providing simple tools to standardize or implement specific frameworks or features. Includes graphics API frameworks like OpenGL and OpenAL, and has links to libraries that offer the standard methods to interface with software and solve design problems.
  • Linux Distributor Resources – An up-to-date listing and review of Linux distributors.

Social Media UI Design

Miscellaneous Sites of Interest


Universities that specialize in UI design or have active HCI labs

Usability Tools and Testing

  • All Things Web – Includes a section on inspection-based user testing with a usability checklist.
  • Information & Design – A wide range of usability testing tools, materials, articles, and downloads.
  • Interactive Media Lab (IML) – A part of the Human Factors group of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto. The lab carries out research on the improvement of user interfaces for information systems. This research includes the design and testing of innovative multimedia environments, and usability testing of existing interfaces and systems.
  • The Guide to Usability for Software Engineering – A collection of pages provided by the University of Maryland for usability engineering practitioners and software engineers with relevant resources and a complete usability testing section.
  • Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab – Provides insights into how users find and use websites, as well as how they are affected by website and mobile design.
  • Usable Web – A meta site for website usability issues with HCI information.
  • – Provides current and accurate information on how to make health-related information Websites and other user interfaces more usable and accessible.