Establishing Design Principles
Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 11:49AM
Thomas Daly in UI, UX, design, methodology, priciples, user experience

There has been a lot of talk lately about design principles: why teams need them, how to establish them, how to know if the ones you've come up with are useful or just a self-indulgent exercise. In a recent episode of the Big Web Show, Aarron Walter, principal user experience designer at MailChimp, discussed the principles he established for the his team that serve as a guiding light during the design process. Aarron mentioned one of TiVo's design principles titled "It's a TV stupid!" which was a comical reminder to their design team that people are sitting on their couches in their living rooms or their bedrooms.

"It's a TV, stupid!" ~ TiVo Design Principle

Jared Spool also recently posted a piece about what makes a successful set of design principles, using those established by the Windows 7 desktop and mobile UI design team as an ideal example. Based on his experience working with teams to create principles, he recommends that design principles be based on actual research. He continues to list six points with which to evaluate a set of design principles.

So while the topic is fresh on everyone's mind, I'll take this opportunity to share the design principles we have established here at House Party, Inc. to guide our team through a massive redesign. The core team is small, but since we also work with a few remote contractors it becomes critical to ensure everyone is on the same page as they press their noses to their screens designing interactions. Every company will have a different set of high level goals a design will aim to address, and design principles should map directly to them.

Design principles for the HouseParty.com redesign:

These principles (or values) are fairly new, and they have been working well for our design team so far, and score fairly well after running them through the six tests Jared Spool offered in his article.

I'd love to get your feedback on our design principles. Post a comment below.

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