I recently returned from beautiful Portland, Oregon, where I spoke as part of the Computer-Human Interaction Forum of Oregon (CHIFOO) annual lecture series. The 2014 series focuses on storytelling, which can take many forms in user experience, user interface, and visual design.
My talk, "Speaking the Language of Meta-Principles: Consistency, Hierarchy, and Personality," covered how to use the meta-principles described in Visual Usability to effectively "tell a story" by using good design to guide users through their desired pathways and tasks in an application. We think of these meta-principles as if they’re part of a language. Consistency and hierarchy are the grammar people learn while using an application: the basic elements that define how a language is spoken. The “words” we speak – that is, the visual design characteristics we choose to convey a message – create an application’s personality. These principles are so fundamental to creating successful interfaces that we call them “meta-principles.” While technology that affects interfaces changes, the underlying meta-principles hold true.
I'd like to thank Emily Mahood Bowman, Clodine Mallinckrodt, Fellene Gaylord, and everyone else at CHIFOO for bringing me to Portland and giving me such a warm welcome. I'll be happy to return anytime!