Effective solution design using design principles

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Presented at OpenText Content World (November 2010) and UX Ottawa (March 2011).

Design principles are a tool that helps project teams establish a common language, make day to day decisions, and deliver a better, more consistent user experience. An added benefit of design principles is that the process of defining and agreeing on them helps a project team form a shared understanding of the design goals for a
product. This presentation discusses how to create design principles that stick and how to use them to speed up decision making and drive user
experience improvements.

Published in: Design, Technology

Effective solution design using design principles

  1. 1. March 24, 2011 Rev 2.0 01102010 Effective Solution Design Using Design Principles Dmitry Nekrasovski OpenText User Experience Design (UXD) Copyright © Open Text Corporation. All rights reserved.
  2. 2. To get us started, a story…
  3. 3. A man came up on a construction site where three men were working.
  4. 4. He asked the first man, “What are you doing?” The man replied, “I’m laying bricks.”
  5. 5. He then asked the second man, “What are you doing?” The man replied, “I’m building a wall.”
  6. 6. He came up to the third man and asked the same question. The man smiled and answered, “I’m building a cathedral.”
  7. 7. How do you get people working on a project to stop laying bricks and start building cathedrals?
  8. 8. Agenda • Why design principles? • What design principles are (and aren’t) • Case studies • Creating and using design principles • Exercise, discussion, Q&A
  9. 9. Why design principles? Have you encountered any of these in your projects?  The panacea: “This will fix everything!”  Vague project mandate  People within the team don’t understand project goals  Unclear boundaries and vision  Ambitions exceed resources  Too many competing requirements  Multiple attempts to solve the same problem  Varying interpretations and expectations  Target audience is “everyone”  Endless feature creep
  10. 10. Why design principles? One of the biggest challenges to project success is Getting everyone to agree on what exactly your project is!
  11. 11. Slide 11 Got it! Sounds great! When do we get started?
  12. 12. Slide 12
  13. 13. Why design principles? Another is Maintaining a consistent vision as the project goes on
  14. 14. Slide 14 Zzzz…
  15. 15. Why design principles? And yet another is Maintaining focus when stakeholders change their minds…
  16. 16. Slide 16 … Also known as the “swoop and poop”.
  17. 17. Why design principles? “Strategy should bring clarity to an organization… People need to have a visceral understanding of why you’ve chosen a certain strategy and what you’re attempting to create with it.” - Tim Brown, CEO, IDEO Design principles are a means to achieve this understanding.
  18. 18. Agenda • Why design principles? • What design principles are (and aren’t) • Case studies • Creating and using design principles • Exercise, discussion, Q&A
  19. 19. What design principles are A simple set of unique characteristics that describe • The qualities we want to achieve • The experience we want a system to deliver
  20. 20. What design principles are “Design principles are the guiding light for any software application. They define and communicate the key characteristics of the system to a wide variety of stakeholders including clients, colleagues, and team members. Design principles articulate the fundamental goals that all decisions can be measured against and thereby keep the pieces of a project moving toward an integrated whole.” - Luke Wroblewski, ex-VP Design, Yahoo
  21. 21. What design principles are not Design principles are not a mission, vision, or values statement. Design principles • Support the larger organizational mission/vision • Make it tangible in the context of the specific project • Ensure that it is followed as the project evolves
  22. 22. What design principles are not Design principles are not universal tenets of good design. “Make the system easy to use” is not a good design principle • It’s not specific enough • It means different things to different people However, “make it easy for people to do X when Y” could be a good design principle. UX Honeycomb by Peter Morville. http://semanticstudios.com/publications/semantics/000029.php
  23. 23. What design principles are not Design principles are not specific design guidelines. A design principle states what the desired design outcome is. A design guideline describes how to achieve that outcome in a particular aspect of the design. Microsoft Windows UX Interaction Guidelines http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa511258.aspx
  24. 24. Agenda • Why design principles? • What design principles are (and aren’t) • Case studies • Creating and using design principles • Exercise, discussion, Q&A
  25. 25. Case study: Facebook  Universal: our design needs to work for everyone, every culture, every language, every device, every stage of life.  Human: our voice and visual style stay in the background, behind people’s voices, people’s faces, and people’s expression.  Clean: our visual style is clean and understated.  Consistent: reduce, reuse, don’t redesign.  Useful: meant for repeated daily use  Fast: faster experiences are more efficient and feel more effortless.  Transparent: we are clear and up front about what’s happening and why.
  26. 26. Case study: Facebook  Universal: our design needs to work for everyone, every culture, every language, every device, every stage of life.  Human: our voice and visual style stay in the background, behind people’s voices, people’s faces, and people’s expression.  Clean: our visual style is clean and understated.  Consistent: reduce, reuse, don’t redesign.  Useful: meant for repeated daily use  Fast: faster experiences are more efficient and feel more effortless.  Transparent: we are clear and up front about what’s happening and why. Are these really specific to Facebook? Or are they just principles of good design?
  27. 27. Case study: HTC Hero phone  Make it Mine: Allow people to personalize their phone to match their personality and reflect different moments in their lives, to a level never before possible.  Stay Close: Make staying close to people through a variety of communication channels and applications as simple as turning to a friend and saying hello.  Discover the Unexpected: Present people with pleasant surprises, even when they are just using the basic functions.
  28. 28. Case study: HTC Hero phone  Make it Mine: Allow people to personalize their phone to match their personality and reflect different moments in their lives, to a level never before possible.  Stay Close: Make staying close to people through a variety of communication channels and applications as simple as turning to a friend and saying hello.  Discover the Unexpected: Present people with pleasant surprises, even when they are just using the basic functions. Notice how specific and unique these design principles are. They can be used internally to drive design decisions. They can also serve as the product’s marketing message.
  29. 29. Case study: Open Text Enterprise Connect
  30. 30. Case study: Open Text Enterprise Connect Associating design principles with vivid visuals can help make them memorable and “sticky”.
  31. 31. Agenda • Why design principles? • What design principles are (and aren’t) • Case studies • Creating and using design principles • Exercise, discussion, Q&A
  32. 32. Creating and using design principles “7 Easy Steps” for creating a set of design principles 1. Research/gather relevant inspiration. 2. Brainstorm with your team. 3. Craft 3-7 descriptive, memorable principles. 4. Ensure the principles align with business and user goals. 5. Ensure they are specific enough to be useful for making design decisions. 6. Ensure they're short, memorable, apply to the whole system, and don't conflict or overlap. 7. Get buy-in from stakeholders and project sponsor(s).
  33. 33. Creating and using design principles When to use design principles  Project inception  Planning and prioritization  Team building - getting team members on the same page  Evaluating benefits of new features or customizations  Evaluating designs – begin design reviews by reviewing them  Aligning project phases: implementation, rollout, training, support  Explaining decisions to stakeholders
  34. 34. Creating and using design principles 3 steps to make design principles “stick” 1. Make them visible and social: Create posters, leaflets, or videos to attract attention.
  35. 35. Creating and using design principles 3 steps to make design principles “stick” 1. Make them visible and social: Create posters, leaflets, or videos to attract attention. 2. Tell stories with them: Gather stories about how the use of the principles (or lack thereof) impacts users and stakeholders. Share them within the project team and around the organization.
  36. 36. Creating and using design principles 3 steps to make design principles “stick” 1. Make them visible and social: Create posters, leaflets, or videos to attract attention. 2. Tell stories with them: Gather stories about how the use of the principles (or lack thereof) impacts users and stakeholders. Share them within the project team and around the organization. 3. Keep them fresh: Revisit the principles at the start of each project or when presenting to key stakeholders/project sponsors.
  37. 37. Agenda • Why design principles? • What design principles are (and aren’t) • Case studies • Creating and using design principles • Exercise, discussion, Q&A
  38. 38. Exercise: Design principles for an onboarding knowledge base Your organization is about to hire 100 new employees across all departments and functions within the next 3 months. You are leading a small team in charge of creating an onboarding knowledge base for these new hires. You have 4 weeks to do this. The knowledge base should answer all the questions the new hires have, but should not overlap with existing HR and departmental resources. There are minimal resources allocated to support and update the knowledge base once deployed. Take 5 minutes to come up with 3-5 design principles. Remember to make them • Short • Specific • Memorable
  39. 39. Time to share your answers!
  40. 40. Actual design principles that were developed for this project Answer recurring questions. What do I need to do on my first day? Week? Month? What does X mean? Who to talk to about problem Y? Find answers, quickly. Easy to search. Shallow hierarchy. Content grouped in ways that make sense to new hires. Make it simple to maintain. Link to rather than duplicate existing content. Make it easy to make quick updates/corrections. Provide only common division content. Content relevant to specific roles/functions should be managed by those departments.
  41. 41. References Stephen Anderson, (Design) Principles to Build By http://www.slideshare.net/stephenpa/design-principles-to-build-by Luke Wroblewski, Developing Design Principles http://www.lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?854 Jared Spool, Creating Great Design Principles http://www.uie.com/articles/creating-design-principles
  42. 42. @dmitryn

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