Design Principles

For Product and UX Design

I’ve been spending some time lately on establishing some of the guiding principles for our Product and UX Design team. I thought I’d share these in case others find them useful. I expect these to be changed and constantly updated, but here’s the first pass.

Team Principles:

Provide balanced value
As a product designer, you should design to provide value to the people using our products, but you must balance the user value with the business goals of the product.

Solve problems, measure success
Frame every design with the problem you are trying to solve. Determine how you will know if you are successful.

Try (almost) anything
It’s not about my idea or your idea, it’s about chasing the right idea. Be willing to try almost idea that gets thrown your way. Consistently request feedback and new ideas. As a result, when you feel passionately about something, the team will listen.

Practical and lazy
You have a team waiting on you. Maximize your process to work effectively for your team and timeline. Utilize tools and features such as style guides and symbols so that you never have to pick the right blue or recreate the same bits of UI.

Lead and follow
Based on the above principles, people will come to you first with questions about their work and plans. They’ll trust you to look at their problems with a practical eye, but you must also ask questions and lean on other’s experience and expertise, which will end up creating more trust over time.

Design for the 90%
Products should be designed around how they will be used 90% of the time. Bonus features don’t need to be in someone’s face if they are rarely used.

Interaction Principles:

Simple and obvious
Complex interactions should be broken down into simple steps that are painfully obvious. Hidden interactions should not be the first or only way to complete a task.

Familiar and appropriate
People shouldn’t have to learn new patterns or conventions to use our products. Be willing to break consistency in favour of a more appropriate choice for the OS, device or context.

Guidance and direction
Guide people towards where they want to go; emphasize information not navigation.

People should be able to complete their task quickly, for example; 2 taps to find the right content area in an app.
The product needs to respond quickly to the person. At first glance this may seem like an engineering problem, but you’re in charge of user experience, therefore it’s your problem.

Sources and links

Here are some of the awesome people and articles that inspired these principles:

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