Design Principles

The Robustness Principle
Be conservative in what you send; be liberal in what you accept.
The Pareto Principle
80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
The Principle of Least Surprise
When two elements of an interface conflict, or are ambiguous, the behaviour should be that which will least surprise the user.
The DRY Principle
Every piece of knowledge must have a single, unambiguous, authoritative representation within a system.

Personal Design Principles

Tim Berners-Lee

Architectural and philosophical points

These statements of architectural principle explain the thinking behind the specifications. These are personal notes by Tim Berners-Lee: they are not endorsed by W3C. They are aimed at the technical community, to explain reasons, provide a framework to provide consistency for for future developments, and avoid repetition of discussions once resolved.

Principles of Design

  1. Simplicity
  2. Modular Design
  3. Being part of a Modular Design
  4. Tolerance
  5. Decentralization
  6. Test of Independent Invention
  7. Principle of Least Power

Bert Bos

What is a good standard?

Why doesn't HTML include tags for style? Why can't you put text inside SMIL? Why doesn't CSS include commands to transform a document? Why, in short, does W3C modularize its specification and why in this particular way? This essay tries to make explicit what the developers in the various W3C working groups mean when they invoke words like efficiency, maintainability, accessibility, extensibility, learnability, simplicity, longevity, and other long words ending in -y.

An essay on W3C's design principles

  1. Maintainability
  2. Modularity
  3. Minimum redundancy
  4. Accessibility
  5. Device-independency
  6. Internationality
  7. Extensibility
  8. Learnability
  9. Readability
  10. Efficiency
  11. Binary or text format
  12. Implementability
  13. Simplicity
  14. Longevity
  15. Backwards compatibility
  16. Interoperability
  17. Repurposing of content
  18. Timeliness
  19. Use what is there
  20. Design by committee
  21. Expertise
  22. Brevity
  23. Stability
  24. Robustness

Dieter Rams

Ten principles for good design

  1. Good design is innovative
  2. Good design makes a product useful
  3. Good design is aesthetic
  4. Good design makes a product understandable
  5. Good design is unobtrusive
  6. Good design is honest
  7. Good design is long-lasting
  8. Good design is thorough down to the last detail
  9. Good design is environmentally friendly
  10. Good design is as little design as possible

Evan Williams

Ten rules for web startups

  1. Be narrow
  2. Be different
  3. Be casual
  4. Be picky
  5. Be user-centric
  6. Be self-centered
  7. Be greedy
  8. Be tiny
  9. Be agile
  10. Be balanced
  11. (bonus!) Be wary

Bruce Tognazzini

First Principles of Interaction Design

The following principles are fundamental to the design and implementation of effective interfaces, whether for traditional GUI environments or the web. Of late, many web applications have reflected a lack of understanding of many of these principles of interaction design, to their great detriment. Because an application or service appears on the web, the principles do not change. If anything, applying these principles become even more important.
  1. Anticipation
  2. Autonomy
  3. Color Blindness
  4. Consistency
  5. Defaults
  6. Efficiency of the User
  7. Explorable Interfaces
  8. Fitts’ Law
  9. Human Interface Objects
  10. Latency Reduction
  11. Learnability
  12. Metaphors
  13. Protect Users’ Work
  14. Readability
  15. Track State
  16. Visible Navigation

Joshua Porter

Principles of User Interface Design

Interfaces exist to enable interaction between humans and our world. They can help clarify, illuminate, enable, show relationships, bring us together, pull us apart, manage our expectations, and give us access to services. The act of designing interfaces is not art and they are not monuments unto themselves. Interfaces do a job and their effectiveness can be measured. They are not just utilitarian, however. The best interfaces can inspire, evoke, mystify, and intensify our relationship with the world.
  1. Interfaces exist to enable interaction
  2. Clarity is job #1
  3. Conserve attention at all costs
  4. Keep users in control
  5. Direct manipulation is best
  6. One primary action per screen
  7. Keep secondary actions secondary
  8. Provide a natural next step
  9. Appearance follows behavior (aka form follows function)
  10. Consistency matters
  11. Strong visual hierarchies work best
  12. Smart organization reduces cognitive load
  13. Highlight, don't determine, with color
  14. Progressive disclosure
  15. Help people inline
  16. A crucial moment: the zero state
  17. Existing problems are most valuable
  18. Great design is invisible
  19. Build on other design disciplines
  20. Interfaces exist to be used

Sandi Wassmer

The Ten Principles of Inclusive Web Design

Inclusive Design is where innovation and imagination flourish. Meeting the needs of the widest variety of people does not inhibit creativity. It opens our minds and inspires excellence.
  1. Equitable: Be welcoming.
  2. Flexible: Provide options.
  3. Straightforward: Be obvious and not ambiguous.
  4. Perceptible: Don’t assume anything.
  5. Informative: Be timely, predictable, uncomplicated and precise.
  6. Preventative: Provide easy to follow instructions and gently guide users.
  7. Tolerant: Handle errors respectfully.
  8. Effortless: Don’t make demands or place restrictions on your users.
  9. Accommodating: Be approachable, uncluttered and give people room to manoeuvre.
  10. Consistent: Follow standards, guidelines, conventions and best practices.

Organisation­al Design Principles

Principles for Indendent Archives

Reduce the cost of using and acting on the evidence in the archive.
Engage new people in the records.
Preserve access to the evidence for as long as possible in as many ways as possible.
  1. Use open standards
  2. Think long term
  3. Stay small, let others create meta-collections
  4. Strive for universal accessibility, be accessible by default
  5. Store the original record, present its essense over its resolution
  6. Work together
  7. Be wary of other people’s ideas

Google

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Ten things we know to be true

  1. Focus on the user and all else will follow.
  2. It’s best to do one thing really, really well.
  3. Fast is better than slow.
  4. Democracy on the web works.
  5. You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.
  6. You can make money without doing evil.
  7. There’s always more information out there.
  8. The need for information crosses all borders.
  9. You can be serious without a suit.
  10. Great just isn’t good enough.

Ten principles that contribute to a Googley user experience

  1. Focus on people their lives, their work, their dreams.
  2. Every millisecond counts.
  3. Simplicity is powerful.
  4. Engage beginners and attract experts.
  5. Dare to innovate.
  6. Design for the world.
  7. Plan for today’s and tomorrow’s business.
  8. Delight the eye without distracting the mind.
  9. Be worthy of people’s trust.
  10. Add a human touch.

Government Digital Service

These guidelines are intended for people building digital services for the GOV.UK domain. … We believe that the work should do the talking, so underneath each of the principles there are examples of how we have applied that thinking in the work released so far.

Design Principles

  1. Start with needs
  2. Do less
  3. Design with data
  4. Do the hard work to make it simple
  5. Iterate. Then iterate again.
  6. Build for inclusion
  7. Understand context
  8. Build digital services, not websites
  9. Be consistent, not uniform
  10. Make things open: it makes things better

Opower

Opower Product Design Principles

  1. Design for how people actually behave
  2. Assume people don’t care
  3. Always lead to action
  4. Aim for lasting relationships, not one-night stands
  5. Build for everyone… who receives a utility bill

Format Design Principles

HTML5

HTML5 defines the fifth major revision of the core language of the World Wide Web, HTML.

HTML Design Principles

  1. Compatibility

    1. Support existing content
    2. Degrade gracefully
    3. Do not reinvent the wheel
    4. Pave the cowpaths
    5. Evolution not revolution
  2. Utility

    1. Solve real problems
    2. Priority of constituencies
    3. Secure by design
    4. Separation of concerns
    5. DOM consistency
  3. Interoperability

    1. Well-defined behavior
    2. Avoid needless complexity
    3. Handle errors
  4. Universal access

    1. Media independence
    2. Support world languages
    3. Accessibility

Microformats

A set of simple, open data formats built upon existing and widely adopted standards.

Microformats principles

  1. Solve a specific problem
  2. Start as simple as possible
  3. Design for humans first, machines second
  4. Reuse building blocks from widely adopted standards
  5. Modularity / embeddability
  6. Enable and encourage decentralized and distributed development, content, services

WCAG 2.0

Understanding the Four Principles of Accessibility

The guidelines and Success Criteria are organized around the following four principles, which lay the foundation necessary for anyone to access and use Web content. Anyone who wants to use the Web must have content that is:
Perceivable
It can't be invisible to all of their senses.
Operable
The interface cannot require interaction that a user cannot perform.
Understandable
The content or operation cannot be beyond their understanding.
Robust
As technologies and user agents evolve, the content should remain accessible.

Software Design Principles

Drupal

An open source content management platform

Drupal 7 User Experience Project

  1. Make the most frequent tasks easy and less frequent tasks achievable.
  2. Design for the 80%
  3. Privilege the Content Creator
  4. Make the default settings smart

Foodspotting

Instead of reviewing restaurants, you can recommend your favorite dishes and see what others have recommended wherever you go.

About Foodspotting

  1. It’s about dishes, not just restaurants
  2. It’s visual
  3. It’s positive
  4. It’s global

Facebook

It's what enables us to debate whether something “Is Facebook” or “Isn't Facebook,” it's what allows us to evaluate whether anything we’re designing could be improved.

Facebook Design Principles

  1. Universal
  2. Human
  3. Clean
  4. Consistent
  5. Useful
  6. Fast
  7. Transparent

Mapbox

After a few weeks sketching and debating, we stepped back and created some simple design principles before moving forward:

Our principles

Hardware Design Principles

The Clock Of The Long Now

These are the principles that Danny Hillis used in the initial stages of designing a 10,000 Year Clock. We have found these are generally good principles for designing anything to last a long time.

Principles

Longevity
With occasional maintenance, the clock should reasonably be expected to display the correct time for the next 10,000 years.
Maintainability
The clock should be maintainable with bronze-age technology.
Transparency
It should be possible to determine operational principles of the clock by close inspection.
Evolvability
It should be possible to improve the clock with time.
Scalability
It should be possible to build working models of the clock from table-top to monumental size using the same design.