This document tells you how to create applications that look right, behave properly, and fit into the GNOME user interface as a whole. It is written for interface designers, graphic artists and software developers who will be creating software for the GNOME environment. Both specific advice on making effective use of interface elements, and the philosophy and general design principles behind the GNOME interface are covered.
These guidelines are meant to help you write applications that are easy to use and consistent with the GNOME desktop. Following these guidelines will have many benefits:
Users will learn to use your program faster, because interface elements will look and behave the way they are used to.
Novice and advanced users alike will be able accomplish tasks quickly and easily, because the interface won't be confusing or make things difficult.
Your application will have an attractive look that fits in with the rest of the desktop.
Your application will continue to look good when users change desktop themes, fonts and colors.
Your application will be accessible to all users, including those with disabilities or special needs.
To help you achieve these goals, these guidelines will cover basic interface elements, how to use them and put them together effectively, and how to make your application integrate well with the desktop.
The recommendations here build on design aspects that have worked well in other systems, including Mac OS, Windows, Java and KDE. At the same time they retain a uniquely GNOME flavor.
Following the guidelines will make your job easier, not harder!