I recently filled out a survey on design. It asked:
“In your own words, what do you think makes for good interface design?”
1) Ease of use - too often things are too complicated in an attempt to make them “better” or add features.
2) Easy to read type size - screen resolution is getting so sharp that on screen type (like this VERY FORM I am using now) is way, way, way too small! All developers and software engineers need to take a typography course or two or three. And not the kind where you just mess around in Illustrator, Photoshop, and Indesign on decorative junk type but actual fundamentals of good typography, letterforms, kerning, etc..
3) Easy to understand (no tech gibberish or short had expressions in help or settings) - too often I get stuck in part of something because the terminology or help is written so badly. All developers need a person with an English degree to edit English and ask what it means when, it means nothing. Apple Audio MIDI Setup is a terminology mess because it assumes the user is a sound or musician type but the program is key to some important audio features in OS X that users of all kind need to get to. There are no third party options.
4) Practicality - good interfaces are practical and not excessive. A shovel has a basic interface. A handle and a pointy metal end for digging. It is practical. But often the metaphorical interface for digging dirt on screen is a snow shovel or a rake. Impracticality and lack of precision is a problem.
5) Design sense - Too often design is confused by non designers with decorative work. But design has a broad spectrum. Apple has been guilty of missing one part of this too much lately. But having a complete design spectrum sense is not dogmatic or frozen but flexible and has a sense of practical and fashionable features. Color, typefaces, graphic form. The best on screen interface design is a blend of 1-4 with 5 to complete it.