Official Usability, User Experience & User Interface Guidelines From Companies

Guidelines are considered to be the best resource that designers and developer can use to ensure that the applications and web sites they produce are usable. Operating systems, devices, and development environments are very specific in nature. Because of this, their manufacturers have devised their own set of usability, user experience and user interface guidelines.

This week I would like to share with you the official links to these guidelines. Please note that there are some excellent guidelines which have not been included since I limited my selection to those that link to the manufacturers’ web sites. Also, this list is by no means exhaustive and will be periodically updated. Still, it is a good starting point that will hopefully lead you to more resources. If you have any other recommendations, please feel free to send them over.


Adobe Usability User Experience User Interface Guidelines


Apple Usability User Experience User Interface Guidelines


BlackBerry Usability User Experience User Interface Guidelines


Google Usability User Experience User Interface Guidelines


HP Usability User Experience User Interface Guidelines


IBM Usability User Experience User Interface Guidelines


Microsoft Usability User Experience User Interface Guidelines


Motorola Usability User Experience User Interface Guidelines


Nokia Usability User Experience User Interface Guidelines


Oracle Usability User Experience User Interface Guidelines


Samsung Usability User Experience User Interface Guidelines


SAP Usability User Experience User Interface Guidelines


SonyEricsson Usability User Experience User Interface Guidelines

  • Flyer

    The “Java Look and Feel Design Guidelines (Sun Microsystems)” contains screenshots in the old Netscape Navigator browser running on Windows 95. Seriously? Has there been no updates on Java look and feel guidelines since then? Makes me grateful to be a .Net developer.

    • Justin Mifsud

      Yes I am aware of that. I think that it’s because Java was eventually acquired by Oracle in 2009 so the only one available are still on the old Sun Microsystems site. I did try and look for Java guidelines on the Oracle site but I couldn’t find any. Still, I am sure that there are some good “unofficial” guidelines that one can reference. I did not include them here as I wanted to only list official sources.

  • girlie_mac

    So helpful to see all the links in one place!

    but one thing I noticed – the url for HP listed here is not the latest. (this is for webOS 1 and 2)

    The latest HIG for webOS 3.x is at:


    • Justin Mifsud

      Thank you very much Tomomi. I have included your link under the HP section.

  • Wouter
  • Ravi Shanker

    Windows Mobile has long been discontinued, The Windows Phone User Interface Guidelines are here

    • Justin Mifsud

      Hi Ravi,

      Yes I know that Windows Mobile has been discontinued. I listed it here for legacy purposes. However, thanks for providing me with the link for the Windows Mobile UI guidelines. I have now included them.

  • fabrizio

    link for sony ericsson rulebook is broken! thanks for the great post!

    • Justin Mifsud

      Hi Fabrizio,

      Thanks for noticing. Sony Ericsson have moved the link to the Developer World site since this post was published. I have now fixed it.

  • Mike

    You might want to include the Windows Phone 7 design guide (

  • Dragon

    You might want to check out the BBC online web development standards and guidelines. They are very thorough.

  • Mike D

    Great resources. Especially like Apple and Google guides since they cover both usability and experience.

  • Brad Colbow

    Here is a good resource I found to go along with the ones you have here. Google’s Android documentation is very technical and can be hard to digest. One of the designers at a company called Mutual Mobile has rewritten these guidelines in a designer friendly way.

  • Marc Robichaud

    While more focused on visual design, I quite enjoyed the BBC Global Experience Language guidelines:

  • Dawesi

    @flyer unlike dotnet java is a very broad product. it would be near impossible to have a guide that encompases the unparalled diversity of devices java is on, a lot of them don’t even have interfaces! That’s how huge this product is.


  • Rolf van der Steen

    BBC has a very nice guideline online at:

  • Justin Mifsud

    @Rolf, @Dragon, @Marc: Thanks for mentioning the BBC Global Experience Language (GEL).

    @Wouter: Thanks for the Skype link

    But, whilst these resources there are pretty amazing, I have not included them in this list because I wanted to restrict it to OSs, software and devices. Indeed there are some awesome guidelines like these that you provided that can be applied to various site designs.

    Thanks for contributing!

  • David Shu

    is there a Design / UX guideline that anyone would recommend for Mobile Websites without preference for native OSs?

  • Pingback: Артефакты: отчет по юзабилити-аудиту | UX Experience

  • Max Darkside

    By including Adobe in your list you lose most credibility as they are gross violators of UX standards. Go ahead and start Adobe Muse, select some text and type Ctrl-B and decide where you want your BUTTON!

  • TPGraham

    Thanks for this great resource! Please note that we have updated BlackBerry UI Guidelines to share, including new guidelines for BlackBerry 10:

    BlackBerry 10:

    BlackBerry OS:

    PlayBook OS:

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