Design principles are the fundamental goals that all
decisions can be measured against to keep the pieces of
a project moving toward an integrated whole. They
define and articulate the key characteristics of a project
to stakeholders, clients, colleagues, and team members.
As your team aggregates design principles to help
form decisions, keep a list of them as a reminder
If time allows, explain why each of these design
principles will be important to the design of the
product to help stakeholders and clients not
informed on design understand fully your design
According to XYZ, applying a design principle
such as ABC has been proven to help people
find items more quickly/relate/enjoy/more
loyalty/etc. and will favor a site over your
The physical characteristics of
an object or environment
influences its function.
When the affordance of an
object or environment
corresponds with its intended
function, the design will
perform more efficiently and
will be easier to use.
Allow users to feel smart
because they know what an
item should or shouldn’t do.
If you design the title of a website to look like a
button – people will want to use it like a button.
A tendency to perceive a set of
individual elements as a single,
recognizable pattern, rather than
multiple, individual elements.
The tendency to perceive a pattern as a
single element they will fill in the
missing information to complete the
This is one principle is of the Gestalt principles of perception
A state of mental focus so intense that
awareness of the “real” world is lost,
generally resulting in a feeling of joy
Given a choice between
functionally equivalent designs,
the simplest design should be
Unnecessary elements decrease
a design’s efficiency, and
increase the probability of
Recognition over Recall
Memory for recognizing things is
better than memory for recalling
Recognition memory is obtained
through exposure, and does not
necessarily involve any memory about
origin, context, or relevance. It is
simply memory that something (senses)
has been experienced before. Recall
memory is obtained through
learning, usually involving some
combination of memorization, practice,
A method of creating imagery, emotions,
and understanding of events through an
interaction between storyteller and
Setting – orient users with time and place.
Characters – allow the user to identify with the product
Plot – ties the story together.
Invisibility – existence of the medium should be
forgotten once the user is engaged.
Mood – emotional tone of product.
Movement – everything flows together.
Good storytelling generally requires fundamental
Also known as Pareto Principle
A high percentage of effects in any large
system are caused by a low percentage of
If the critical 20% of a product’s features are
used 80% of the time, design and testing
resources should focus primarily on those
80% of a product’s usages involves
20% of its features
80% of a company’s revenue comes from
20% of its products
80% of errors are caused by
20% of its components
Methods can help facilitate conversations to help us
better understand and empathize with people, and as a
result build more meaningful products.
Methods can help designers have the right conversation
at the right time. Also, helps designers learn which
methods to use at the correct time during their research.
Methods help the team members work together to
discover solutions to a problem.
You can’t say you practice User Experience if you don’t
use methods to help guide your design decisions.
An immersive, contextual method of
Observing and interviewing that reveals
underlying (and invisible) work structure.
4 principles that define Contextual Inquiry:
Context: spend time where work happens.
Partnership: Master/Apprentice relationship model.
Interpretation: From the data gathered the researcher
(you) Make a hypothesis (or interpretation) of the data
and what that means to the participant. This is then
followed by other methods for testing the
Focus: Researcher must learn to expand the limits of
their focus to see the participant’s world.
A process used to externalize and meaningfully
Cluster observations and insights from research,
keeping design teams grounded in data as they
Contextual Inquiry: Write observations on sticky
notes. Can then interpret the notes and the
significance of each. Can then cluster together
Usability Testing: Different color sticky notes for
each participant. During Usability Test observers
should write notes about participant on sticky
note. Common issues and problems should
Rather than making design decisions based
on intuition and personal preferences, a set
of manageable and meaningful principles
can focus the team’s efforts regarding the
types of changes to fix.
Want more than one person to perform the Heuristics and
a range of knowledge levels from beginner to expert.
An agreed-upon set of usability best practices
can help detect usability problems before
actual users are brought in to further
evaluate an interface.
A method that requires participants to
verbalize what they are doing and thinking
as they complete a task, revealing aspects
of an interface that delight, confuse,
Try to evaluate specific tasks and not an
Don’t want to mentally exhaust the
Concurrent and Retrospective think-aloud:
Concurrent – participant speaks out loud while performing
The task. They should comment on what is happening and not why.
Retrospective – participant speaks about the task after performing
it while watching themselves on tape.
Focuses on people and their tasks, and
seeks empirical evidence (information
that is acquired by observation or
experimentation) about how to improve
the usability of an interface.
This method is designed to help teams
identify the parts of an interface that
most regularly frustrate and confuse
People so that they can be prioritized,
fixed, and retested prior to launch.
Tests are designed around tasks and scenarios that
represent typical end-user goals. The tasks and scenarios
should not influence the participant to solve a problem
a certain way, or seek to justify your design decisions.
Some errors and highlights the observers and evaluators
should try to detect are:
Can’t complete task in reasonable amount of time.
Gives up or resigns from completing process.
Expresses surprise or delight.
Expresses frustration, confusion, or blames themselves.
Makes a suggestion for the interface of flow of events.
Understands the goal, but tries a different approach than
expected to complete the task.