principles of ux

I start and end conversations with reasons. Part of my job is to share knowledge and strive to earn your trust and confidence over time.

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What Would Jane Do

Every process starts with our users in mind. Personas help us understand the goals, motivations and behaviors of the people who use our interfaces. They help us build stories and communicate details in a way that is meaningful to the people who use it. They make it easier to identify problems and solutions that may not have come across ourselves. We should constantly be gathering persona information through communication and usability testing. When trying to solve a problem, we like to use the Persona's name that fits the situation best and speak frankly. Ex., "What's Jane going to want to do on this page? What would she find difficult? She's not very computer savvy. Would Jane want to share this, she is concerned about her privacy on Facebook."

Find the Right Market / Product Fit

When people understand and use our product enough to recognize it's value, that's awesome. When they start to share their positive experience with others, and when we can replicate this positive experience with new users, then all of the sudden our users become our salespeople.

The Experience is the Product

There's a difference between the product (what we are familiar with) and the experience of using the product (what our users know).  All interactions are important and add up to what makes our product valuable to those who use it. 

Make it Useful

The product should always start with some understanding of our persona's objectives, and then making sure the product satisfies this in a way that feels easy and efficient. This may include fulfilling functional, social or emotional needs. 

Pay Attention to Our Users

Users are usually right when they think something is wrong, but they usually don't know how to solve it. It's important not to dismiss these but rather use them as a reason to dig for the cause.

Don't Make Me Think

"Will [Jane] be frustrated at any point as she tries to complete [task]?"A person of average ability or experience should be able to understand what the product is and how to use it without getting too frustrated. Most tasks should be simple enough to be self-evident, obvious or self-explanatory. The main objective of the page should be visibly present and logical.  

Clarity is Our #1 Priority

People must be able to recognize what they are looking at, care about why they'd use it, understand what it is helping them interact with and predict what will happen when they use it. Your design needs to communicate one main use case above all else. Keep secondary items secondary by making them lighter weight visually or shown after the primary action has been achieved. Always provide a natural next step. Reduce all other use cases by applying 'Just enough is more' to your designs. Show general information first and then allow users to choose to see more specific information.

Make Our Descriptions Familiar to Other People

The way others see our product affects conversion and adoption. How we position ourselves in the market, how we talk about our product, how we describe it and compare it helps gives others a framework to understanding who we are. If possible, base this on previously existing categories as people learn quicker by comparing things with something they already know.

Make the Zero State Informative to Me

The first time experience for a new user is crucial. The zero state is the page that they see before anything has happened. It should provide direction and guidance for the user to get up to speed with what will happen over the course of their visit. Most friction happens in that initial context. Making sure they understand the rules will provide a much higher likelihood of success.

Strong Hierarchies Work the Best

There should be a clear viewing order to the visual elements on each screen. Weak visual hierarchies give little clue as to where to rest one's gaze, add to visual clutter, confusion and fatigue. When everything is bold, nothing is bold.

Be Consistent

Repeating design elements and consistent use of type and styles helps show users where to go and how to navigate designs and layouts easily. The process in which new elements are created should facilitate either the re-use of existing elements or the addition of a new style that will be used going forward.

Copy is Important

Copy should be friendly and approachable. Users should be able to easily understand and identify with it. It should be used to guide the user to make informed decisions. It should have a consistent voice.

Keep Users in Control

People are the most comfortable when they feel like they are in control and can predict what will happen. Avoid unplanned interactions, confusing pathways and surprising outcomes. Regularly keep users informed of their status, by stating causation "If you do this, this will happen", and by giving insight at every turn. Don't worry about stating the obvious.

Own It. Ship It. Test It.

There should be a balance between budget and quality. Things should be shipped with such budgets in mind, but owners are the gatekeepers to making sure acceptable minimal standards are kept before passing to the "shipping" phase.

Mobile First

Mobile interfaces offer a more constricted area to reach solutions so it should always be considered first in product and interface designs.

Fit and Finish Help Build Trust

When something looks right, when the UI is polished to pixel perfection, when the copy is clear, when the branding is consistent and professional, we build trust with our users. 

The Last 10% is What Makes a Good Product Great

Taking your project from 90% to 100% refined may take 50% of your time, but it's not time we are measuring but how we make our product stand out from the crowd.

Test All The Things

All opinions should be supported by data. Any major layout changes should be tested to ensure that we are not breaking anything or taking away from conversion or the business.

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