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This time I want to show you some of the design principles used by companies around the world. The original source is included for those who wish to delve further into these principles, which is highly recommended.
It is interesting to see how these principles can be similar in some cases, and in others contradictory when not non-existent.
But in the end, these principles can help us develop our own work and incorporate effective techniques into our daily work.
Remember: UX Design comes from theory and conceptualization. While you may think these design principles may be too philosophic or broad, they have a reason. Want proof? See who use them in this article!
Here, we’ll see how User Experience Design is achieved through high levels of design documentation and design systems.
So you’ll see design philosophy, conceptual approaches, usability, user psychology, visual hierarchy and other theoretical concepts. These principles are more about theory than hands-on approaches. For example: if you see app design, is not about the usual interface designer approach, UI patterns, or the user interface from a visual point of view. Instead, it’s about the look and feel, the design process and design guidelines that will lead the whole user interface design process.
This is what UX design principles means: a conceptual and methodological approach rather than building guidelines
Without further introduction, let’s go to the list, in no particular order:
Android Development Principles
Note: these principles are not available at Android site anymore, so they might be changing these at this time.
Android design principles are mostly focused on UI Design applied to development of Android products. These principles are 3:
- Enchant Me
- Simplify My Life
- Make Me Amazing
Also, these design principles are subdivided into more specific parts
Delight me in surprising ways
A beautiful surface, a carefully-placed animation, or a well-timed sound effect is a joy to experience. Subtle effects contribute to a feeling of effortlessness and a sense that a powerful force is at hand.
Real objects are more fun than buttons and menus
Allow people to directly touch and manipulate objects in your app. It reduces the cognitive effort needed to perform a task while making it more emotionally satisfying.
Let me make it mine
People love to add personal touches because it helps them feel at home and in control. Provide sensible, beautiful defaults, but also consider fun, optional customizations that don’t hinder primary tasks.
Get to know me
Learn peoples’ preferences over time. Rather than asking them to make the same choices over and over, place previous choices within easy reach.
Simplify My Life
Keep it brief
Use short phrases with simple words. People are likely to skip sentences if they’re long.
Pictures are faster than words
Consider using pictures to explain ideas. They get people’s attention and can be much more efficient than words.
Decide for me but let me have the final say
Take your best guess and act rather than asking first. Too many choices and decisions make people unhappy. Just in case you get it wrong, allow for ‘undo’.
Only show what I need when I need it
People get overwhelmed when they see too much at once. Break tasks and information into small, digestible chunks. Hide options that aren’t essential at the moment, and teach people as they go.
I should always know where I am
Give people confidence that they know their way around. Make places in your app look distinct and use transitions to show relationships among screens. Provide feedback on tasks in progress.
Never lose my stuff
Save what people took time to create and let them access it from anywhere. Remember settings, personal touches, and creations across phones, tablets, and computers. It makes upgrading the easiest thing in the world.
If it looks the same, it should act the same
Help people discern functional differences by making them visually distinct rather than subtle. Avoid modes, which are places that look similar but act differently on the same input.
Only interrupt me if it’s important
Like a good personal assistant, shield people from unimportant minutiae. People want to stay focused, and unless it’s critical and time-sensitive, an interruption can be taxing and frustrating.
Make Me Amazing
Give me tricks that work everywhere
People feel great when they figure things out for themselves. Make your app easier to learn by leveraging visual patterns and muscle memory from other Android apps. For example, the swipe gesture may be a good navigational shortcut.
It’s not my fault
Be gentle in how you prompt people to make corrections. They want to feel smart when they use your app. If something goes wrong, give clear recovery instructions but spare them the technical details. If you can fix it behind the scenes, even better.
Break complex tasks into smaller steps that can be easily accomplished. Give feedback on actions, even if it’s just a subtle glow.
Do the heavy lifting for me
Make novices feel like experts by enabling them to do things they never thought they could. For example, shortcuts that combine multiple photo effects can make amateur photographs look amazing in only a few steps.
Make important things fast
Not all actions are equal. Decide what’s most important in your app and make it easy to find and fast to use, like the shutter button in a camera, or the pause button in a music player.
Source: Design Principles for Android
AirBnB UX Design Principles
AirBnB UX design department has a well documented process. They explain this process in a series of posts, which any UX and UI designer should read. There’s a lot to learn from these posts, so be sure not to miss them!
To resume AirBnB design philosophy, they grouped their conception in four different requirements. According to AirBnB design principles, design must be:
Each piece is part of a greater whole and should contribute positively to the system at scale. There should be no isolated features or outliers.
Airbnb is used around the world by a wide global community. Our products and visual language should be welcoming and accessible.
We’re focused when it comes to both design and functionality. Our work should speak boldly and clearly to this focus.
Our use of motion breathes life into our products, and allows us to communicate with users in easily understood ways.
Source: Building a Visual Language – Behind the scenes of our new design system
iOS 11 Design Principles
You’ll find all Apple iOS design principles and UX design principles in what they call the Human Interface Guidelines or HIG. These guidelines are really extensive and constantly changing and evolving, which is one of the reasons for Apple’s success based on great design guided by user experience design principles.
If you EVER want to know something about iOS user experience, reading these guidelines is mandatory.
iOS 14 Design Principles are divided in 2 parts:
- what they call themes, which they consider the difference with other platforms
- the design principles.
The Themes are:
Clarity. Throughout the system, text is legible at every size, icons are precise and lucid, adornments are subtle and appropriate, and a sharpened focus on functionality motivates the design. Negative space, color, fonts, graphics, and interface elements subtly highlight important content and convey interactivity.
Deference. Fluid motion and a crisp, beautiful interface help people understand and interact with content while never competing with it. Content typically fills the entire screen, while translucency and blurring often hint at more. Minimal use of bezels, gradients, and drop shadows keep the interface light and airy, while ensuring that content is paramount.
Depth. Distinct visual layers and realistic motion convey hierarchy, impart vitality, and facilitate understanding. Touch and discoverability heighten delight and enable access to functionality and additional content without losing context. Transitions provide a sense of depth as you navigate through content.
Meanwhile, the design principles are:
Aesthetic integrity represents how well an app’s appearance and behavior integrate with its function. For example, an app that helps people perform a serious task can keep them focused by using subtle, unobtrusive graphics, standard controls, and predictable behaviors. On the other hand, an immersive app, such as a game, can deliver a captivating appearance that promises fun and excitement, while encouraging discovery.
A consistent app implements familiar standards and paradigms by using system-provided interface elements, well-known icons, standard text styles, and uniform terminology. The app incorporates features and behaviors in ways people expect.
The direct manipulation of onscreen content engages people and facilitates understanding. Users experience direct manipulation when they rotate the device or use gestures to affect onscreen content. Through direct manipulation, they can see the immediate, visible results of their actions.
Feedback acknowledges actions and shows results to keep people informed. The built-in iOS apps provide perceptible feedback in response to every user action. Interactive elements are highlighted briefly when tapped, progress indicators communicate the status of long-running operations, and animation and sound help clarify the results of actions.
People learn more quickly when an app’s virtual objects and actions are metaphors for familiar experiences—whether rooted in the real or digital world. Metaphors work well in iOS because people physically interact with the screen. They move views out of the way to expose content beneath. They drag and swipe content. They toggle switches, move sliders, and scroll through picker values. They even flick through pages of books and magazines.
Throughout iOS, people—not apps—are in control. An app can suggest a course of action or warn about dangerous consequences, but it’s usually a mistake for the app to take over the decision-making. The best apps find the correct balance between enabling users and avoiding unwanted outcomes. An app can make people feel like they’re in control by keeping interactive elements familiar and predictable, confirming destructive actions, and making it easy to cancel operations, even when they’re already underway.
Source: Human Interface Guidelines: Design Principles
Uber UX Design Principles
Uber design principles are only 3. Uber design system is based in these three principles, but all of them have multiple ramifications. At the time of writing this article, there are exactly 77 sub-principles!
Anyways, Uber’s great design starts with the requirement for their user experience to be:
- Focused and Timely
Instructive: Education through clarity.
We want to guide users through the intended journey, without assuming they would know how the flow works or how to use the UI off the bat.
Non-intrusive: Get out of the way.
There is a lot of important information that has to fit onto a driver’s phone screen — all of which has already been carefully crafted by our designers, product managers, and engineers. We had to make sure not to block any critical information in that moment, which meant being mindful of the overall system. It needed to work seamlessly and sequentially in a pre-existing user flow and mesh with what was already on the screen.
Focused and Timely: Not just what, but when.
It was important to consider not only what we wanted to convey to new drivers, but when we wanted to convey it. You should not bombard new users with all the information at once. Instead, it’s better to present bite-sized information when it is most pertinent, moving the user through the nuances of the moment and into the future.
As you can see, Uber’s design principles are more geared toward developing the user experience more broadly than the visual design itself. The UI design part is secondary and should come as a consequence of applying these three main design principles.
As in the previous cases, I recommend seeing the documentation and explanation of these principles. Its more technical approach is of great interest to both UX designers and developers. Or even people starting a tech start-up.
Source: Uber Design Principles
Facebook UX Design Principles
As you can imagine, Facebook has very clear UX design principles.
Although they were published in 2009 as a normal post on the same Facebook platform, they are almost completely unknown.
Or at least that’s what we infer from the very low level of user interaction. 23 comments and 59 shares over 10 years.
However, if we are talking about great design principles of technology companies, leaving Facebook aside is like ignoring a good part of the development of user experiences in the last decade.
More importantly, these principles, more philosophical in tone than in other cases cited in this article, help us better understand the way of thinking about users by technology giants. Which allows us to create principles for our own ventures.
Without further ado, great design principles from Facebook:
Our mission is to make the entire world more open, and this means reaching every corner, every person. So our design principles needs to work for everyone, every culture, every language, every device, every stage of life. This is why we build products that work for 90% of users and cut away features that only work for just a minority, even if we step back in the short term.
Users return to our site to be surrounded by friends and other people near to them. This is a central promise of our product, that the people you care about are all in one place. This is why our voice and visual style stay in the background, behind people’s voices, people’s faces, and people’s expression.
Our visual style is clean and understated, to create a blank canvas on which our users live. Great design comes from a minimal, well-lit space encourages participation and honest transparent communication. Clean is not the easiest approach to visual style. To the contrary, margins and type scale, washes and color become more important as we reduce the number of styles we rely on.
We invest our time wisely, by embracing patterns, recognizing that our usability is greatly improved when similar parts are expressed in similar ways. Our interactions speak to users with a single voice, building trust. Reduce, reuse, don’t redesign.
Our product design principles are more utility than entertainment, meant for repeated daily use, providing value efficiently. This is why our core interactions, the ones users engage daily, are streamlined, purged of unnecessary clicks and wasted space.
We value our users time more than our own. We recognize faster experiences are more efficient and feel more effortless. As such, site performance is something our users should never notice. Our site should move as fast as we do.
Users trust us with their identity, their photos, their thoughts and conversation. We reciprocate with the utmost honesty and transparency. We are clear and up front about what’s happening and why.
Source: Facebook Design Principles
A well documented set of UX design principles is the cornerstone for great design. No matter if we talk about product or service design, apps or web design, physical or digital design, it all starts the same way: with clear, concise guidelines we can follow and from which we can create further experiences.
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