The Intuitive Design Language: How to Design Universally Understood Interfaces
One of the biggest challenges when designing interfaces is the design’s ability to feel natural and straightforward to its users. This is why mastering the intuitive design language is key when crafting UX experiences. The goal of this language is to provide instinctive and memorable experiences during which the user knows exactly what to do. Similar to architecture, intuitive interface design centers around three key principles. The first is known as movements in UX architecture, where the goal is to create flows that are universally understood by focusing on the entrance, interior, navigation, layout, and exit of the interface just as physical spaces are planned and experienced. The second is images as UI wayfinding, which uses systems in which users can orient themselves within a space and navigate from place to place. It is the selection and rendering of iconography. The third and final principle deals with intent through form, which aims at designing environments where the intent is not compromised by its beautiful form. In other words, how form follows function. The intuitive design language is common to all humans; however, many discard it as they grow up while a small subset retain it out of resourcefulness. This language uses no alphabets, and yet, when applied correctly, it can be understood across most cultures. In general, the principles describe a systematic structure, purpose, and symbolism to consider when making interfaces. It also simplifies a design process that oftentimes is difficult to follow or even comprehend.
Angela Guzman emphasizes user interface, interaction design, and user experience and has worked for startups and large corporations throughout Silicon Valley, most recently as a manager and design lead at Google. Previously, she led the first major hosting redesign of Airbnb’s mobile app and worked on mobile and desktop communication apps like Messages, FaceTime, Photo Booth, and Mail as part of Apple’s Human Interface Design team—the group responsible for the iPhone. As a design intern, she codesigned Apple’s original emoji set. Guzman holds a BFA in Industrial Design and an MFA in Graphic Design from the Rhode Island School of Design.
College of Fine and Applied Arts
Gies College of Business