May 5th, 2011
Great design principles guide your team to creating designs that delight your users. They are well thought out and often based on research. Having a set of great principles will allow your team to turn ordinary design into extraordinary design. But not everyone has great design principles. What even constitutes a great design principle?
Jared Spool understands what it takes to create good design. In his talk The Essential Principles Behind Great Design Principles, from this year’s Web App Masters Tour, Jared dives into our latest research on what teams are doing it right and which are missing the mark.
Great design principles are born out of research and observation. If you sit and have a meeting to discuss “what you want to be when you grow up”, you might end up with vague or convoluted principles. You’re not basing your decisions on your actual users’ experiences. Conversely, the Windows 7 desktop team collected a large amount of data on the failings of Windows Vista to develop their principles and by all accounts, turned out a much better experience.
Creating a set of great design principles shouldn’t be about striving for vague goals like being “universal” or “clean”. They should be developed to solve problems and address real issues with your product. Principles are the guide to getting your team to the project’s end goal and fulfilling the vision you had for it. As Jared says, “if you know where you’re going, it doesn’t matter how fast you get there.”
Conducting field research and gathering data can help you determine your top priorities. Once you make that determination, you can then take steps toward developing design principles that will ultimately guide your team in making great design decisions.
Don’t miss Jared in either of his two talks at the Web App Masters tour. The tour is making stops in Seattle in May and Minneapolis in June. For more information on Jared and all 11 Masters, visit UIETour.com.