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 - Provides guidance on controls and patterns to use for viewing, navigating and performing actions on application content.
  • Editing and Manipulation - Includes guidance on controls and patterns to use for selection and input.
  • User Assistance - Includes guidance on tooltips, notifications, messages and help.


Presentation deals with visual design of the user interface.

  • 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. Includes guidance on the use of colour, the design of icons 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 following these guidelines.

Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.