6 Core Principles of Great Product Design

Building great products is more than designing interfaces; it’s about creating excellent experiences. The craft of UX is a blend of creativity and analytical acumen. It is a thoughtful approach that focuses on defining crucial problems and delivering relevant, desirable, viable, and technologically feasible solutions. These solutions are held to the highest standards of usability, whereby usability is a measure of the effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction with which specified users can achieve specific goals in a particular environment (Nielsen / Norman 2015).

“Usability is a measure of the effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction with which specified users can achieve specific goals in a particular environment.”

Let’s take a deeper look at the 6 core principles of product design:

1. Make The Correct Things Visible.

Visibility is concerned with making relevant parts of a product visible and the tasks at hand easy to see and find. If we attempt to make everything important, we will in effect emphasize nothing. Proper visibility reduces unnecessary friction and is directly related to increased user engagement.

2. Maintain A Continuous Feedback Loop.

Users should always know the status of a system. Feedback is concerned with sending information back to the user so they know what they have done. Feedback is a critical way to help users avoid frustration and confusion.

3. Constrain User Interaction.

Restrict the type and amount of user interaction at any given time. A constrained experience decreases cognitive load (the amount of information we are processing at a given time) and increases user focus and accuracy. Low cognitive load is directly related to user delight and satisfaction.

4. Give The Right Clues.

The affordances of an object determine, naturally, how it can be used. When the affordances of a physical object are perceptually obvious it is easy to know how to interact with it. It is crucial to understand common affordances and present clues to encourage users to interact with your product intuitively.

5. Map Controls And Effects Naturally.

Mapping refers to the relationship between controls and their effects. Controls and displays should exploit natural mapping, whereby natural mapping takes advantage of physical analogies and cultural standards. Appropriate mapping encourages users to act intuitively and as such with greater ease.

6. Be Predictably Consistent.

Create interfaces that have strong operational patterns and use similar elements for achieving similar tasks. Consistency extends to both the aesthetic and functional quality of a system and makes products easy to learn.

Want more? Read Don Norman’s, The Design of Everyday Things.

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