There is a large body of accumulated research knowledge on UI design, but it is hard to remember it all and even harder to use. UI Tenets & Traps is a tool attempting to synthesize this accumulated knowledge and put it in a form which practitioners can take action on. They are a general purpose UI evaluation tool, meant to be used to improve the quality of UI design early in the product life cycle.

  • describe general attributes of good interface design.
  • describe common design problems that degrade this goodness. Reduce Traps and the experience improves.

UI Tenets & Traps has several strengths as a UI evaluation tool:

  1. They are distilled from a large body of existing UI heuristic tools and research.
  2. They explain why UI problems exist rather than simply identifying problems.
  3. They facilitate communication through common language.
  4. They can explain user performance and satisfaction.
  5. Since they are a deck of cards, they are portable and practical.


Michael Medlock

Principal UX Researcher, Meta

User Research leader with 20+ years working on successful software and hardware products across all the major screens that users interact with (PC, mobile, and TV).

Worked in a wide range of product areas from PC and console games, internet browsers, email systems, mobile and console OS’s, AR/VR systems, information worker and IT systems, health care and the shipping industry. Created the Rapid Iterative Testing and Evaluation method now widely used in industry.

Steve Herbst

UX Research Leader, Amazon

Organizational leader responsible for teams of designers, researchers, and programmers in large complex organizations (Motorola, Microsoft & Amazon).

Innovator of widely adopted methods that reveal articulated and latent customer needs. Adept at transforming these needs into design and engineering criteria. Developer of knowledge management systems that integrate insights from divergent sources and align them around stable, core human needs.


There have been many people who have contributed to the design, the wording, and the testing of this product over the years. Although we started offering this product to the world in 2017, many people have contributed to it since 2007 when we made the first version. Likely more than the folks who we have listed below. If we missed you, mea culpa!

Steve Kaneko

Emeritis Director of Design, Microsoft

John Suciu

Senior UX Researcher, Amazon

Andrew Mayer

UX Research Director, Zillow

Kristin Arnold

UX Director, Google

Steve Seow

Architect Evangelist, Microsoft

Stephanie Cooper

Visual Designer, Microsoft

Kristie Fisher

Senior UX Researcher, Google

Jae Park

Vice President, Amazon Devices UX Design

Kent Sullivan

UX Consultant

Jeremy Jobling

Senior UX Manager, Honeywell

Jane Park

Senior UX Designer, Amazon

Toni Rosati

UX Researcher

Todd Kelley

Senior UX Researcher Microsoft, Xbox