Web Application Interface Standards and Guidelines
The purpose for standardization is to make our products
easier to use, without enforcing uniformity.
With standards for our applications, the following advantages are
Vocabulary, controls, navigation, and information are
located in similar places across applications.
- Developers spend less time on the prototype and design of new
- Developers are able to leverage knowledge and code across
- With a common vocabulary, communication between developers is
Users spend less time learning how to use each new
Users recognize standard elements as they switch between
Users leverage prior knowledge to navigate each
application and have a better focus on their task.
What is an application?
There are two important differences between informational Web pages
and what we consider Web applications:
Applications are self-contained units that create data or
make changes to data, often transactionally. Applications are
focused on one business area at a time.
"Jump-outs" to unrelated Web pages in the middle of a
process are strongly discouraged because users might lose and need to
What is addressed by these
standards and guidelines?
We recognize that the needs of applications, as identified above,
differ from the needs of informational pages.
Thus we feel the need to provide a somewhat different
standard for applications.
In creating a standard graphic UW identity for
applications, the "UW Administrative
Applications" top header graphic is very similar to the
informational pages. It avoids functionality unrelated to
the current application, and it tries to give users an
indication that they are in a secure area where they can
We propose a standard terminology
(vocabulary) for common functionality.
Finally, we make
recommendations on issues beyond look and wordage, to help
inform and guide application design.
We have provided information based on our expertise and
hope that this will be a living document - i.e., that other
developers will contribute their own experiences and