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Monday, Feb. 17th 2020

Collection of Human Interface and Software Design Guides

After posting about the OpenStep User Interface Guide, I started to wonder how many different human interface guides or software design guides that I could find from the past and present. It doesn’t seem like there’s a good collection of these anywhere on the internet, especially in regard to past software design guides. I think there’s a lot of value in these even outside of just being a historic reference.

If you have a link or PDF of human interface or software design guidelines to past or present software that you think I should include, please contact me: @rectangular.



Elementary OS

Gnome Desktop Environment






  • Macintosh Human Interface Guidlines: c. 1992
  • Mac OS X Human Interface Guidelines: c. 2005

Gnome Desktop Environment




  • OpenStep User Interface Guidelines: c. 1996

Silicon Graphics, Inc.

Sun Microsystems

  • Common Desktop Environment: c. 2002

1 This is before IBM OS/2, so I assume it’s referencing DOS based applications.

Updated on Thursday, Feb. 20th 2020