Building software is a team sport

A few guidelines from Xero’s product design team.

Building software is hard. It requires empathy, respect, tenacity, debate, talent, and a relentless focus on the people using your products.

To help Xero’s product design team make great software, we follow these guidelines:

  1. Design-led means we put customer needs before Xero needs and elegant experiences before feature-bloated ones.
  2. Building software is a team sport. We play well with others, and we don’t hand designs over and move on.
  3. An excellent experience is made of a thousand small, good ones.
  4. Every element, from motion to colours to words, exists for a reason. If it’s of no use, delete it.
  5. We ask questions, listen and observe because we can’t design what we don’t understand.
  6. We think holistically, but loveable is more important than uniform, and context is more important than consistency.
  7. We design around content and meaning, not around devices and layouts.
  8. We don’t party the day we ship, we party when our new software is proving successful for customers.

Xero makes “beautiful accounting software”. We’re on a mission to help millions of businesses around the world thrive. We’re doing this through beautiful software, excellent business advice and connections to other services. It’s not an easy or small mission — but it’s a great one.