From KDE UserBase Wiki

KDE User Interface Guidelines

The KDE Human interface guidelines (HIG) offer application designers and developers a set of recommendations. Their aim is to improve the experience for users by making application interfaces more consistent and hence more intuitive and learnable.

Getting Started

  • Design Vision and Principles - The overall vision and principles that guide the design and development of user interfaces for KDE software.
  • Concept - Covers creating a project vision, determining the users, and the scenarios of use.
  • Organization - Provides guidance on how the application’s content and functionality are ordered and categorized.


This section contains guidelines for application behaviour.

  • Viewing and Navigation - Encompasses the wide variety of behaviors and operations that allow users to navigate the interface and affect its presentation.
  • Editing and Manipulation - Covers the behaviors that result in permanent changes to user’s stored information.
  • User Assistance - Considers behaviours that inform users of the application’s activity and status. This includes help, error alerts, and status alerts.


Presentation deals with visual design of the user interface. It’s all about the appearance of the application including layout, spacing, colours, fonts, icon designs, etc.

  • Layout - Guidance regarding the placement and ordering of onscreen elements. Includes guidance on layout patterns, alignment, size and spacing.
  • Style - Style is concerned with emotion, tone, and visual vocabulary. Style is influenced by the use of colour, the design of icons throughout the interface and the typography.
  • Text - Guidance for the written, language-based elements of the interface. Includes guidance on wording, capitalization and localization.

Tools and Resources

The following tools and resources are offered to help with implementing these guidelines.