Human Interface Guidelines
What are Human Interface Guidelines(HIG) ?
HIG are nothing but documents which provide a set of recommendations which are to be followed while developing Graphical User Interface based Applications.They serve as a set of recommendations for the software developers while developing new software.These are not rules,just guidelines on how an application will "interface" on UI terms with the underlying Operating System.
Hence each Operating System has it's own set of Guidelines on UI standards.The main aim of HIG is to make a third party application "behave well" with the other applications that make up the operating system and hence giving you a consistent look.
Here is a list of HIG documents for the top three Desktop Operating Systems:
MS does not have a stable set of guidelines for their Windows Operating System.Instead they have "User Interface" guidelines for each of their Operating Systems.Hence there's a set of guidelines for Win95,WinXP etc.
Apple has two sets of HIG documents.One for pre Mac OSX and the other for Aqua the UI seen in Mac OS X.
Linux has two separate HIG documents,one for GNOME and one for KDE,it's two main Desktop Environments.Linux as such is just the kernel and the Desktop Environments exist independent of the kernel unlike Windows and Mac OS wherein "some part" of the GUI is interwoven with the kernel.
KDE's HIG is in a nascent stage and only draft versions exist in the form of a wiki.
HIG and me: Why the sudden interest ?
You might be wondering why I'm so into HIG ? Fair enough.
For the last couple of days I've been reading up on the HIG documents mentioned above to find out which one is the most intuitive.Currently Apple's HIG seem to be the best in terms of human readability.I'm basing this purely on what the HIG document says and this is coming from a non Mac user.GNOME's HIG are more closer to Apple's,one of the reason's why I'm a GNOME user.
Also, the main reason which made me take up this "study" was a bug which I filed in Flock's bugzilla. The bug is related to the Close Dialog box which appears when Flock's blog editor is closed.The bug and it's development can be viewed here.