5 Great UX Design Principles of Successful IT Companies

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Great Design Principles

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This time, I want to share some of the design principles used by companies worldwide. The original sources are included for those interested in exploring these principles further, which is highly recommended.

It is intriguing to see how these principles can be similar in some cases and contradictory or even non-existent in others.

Ultimately, these principles can help us improve our work by incorporating effective techniques into our daily practice.

Remember: UX Design stems from theory and conceptualization. While these design principles may seem philosophical or broad, they are grounded in purpose. Want proof? See who uses them in this article!

Here, we will explore how User Experience Design is achieved through extensive design documentation and design systems.

You’ll encounter topics like design philosophy, conceptual approaches, usability, user psychology, visual hierarchy, and other theoretical concepts. These principles focus more on theory than hands-on approaches. For example, when considering app design, it’s not about typical interface design, UI patterns, or visual aspects of the user interface. Instead, it concerns the look and feel, the design process, and the guidelines that shape the entire user interface design process.

This is what UX design principles mean: a conceptual and methodological approach rather than just building guidelines.

Without further introduction, let’s go to the list, in no particular order:

Android Development Principles

Android Design 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

Enchant Me

Delight me in surprising ways

A beautiful surface, a carefully placed animation, or a well-timed sound effect can be a joy to experience. Subtle effects contribute to a sense of effortlessness and give the impression of a powerful force at work.

Real objects are more fun than buttons and menus

Allow users to directly touch and manipulate objects in your app. This approach reduces the cognitive effort needed to perform tasks while making the experience 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 users’ preferences over time. Instead of asking them to make the same choices repeatedly, place their previous choices within easy reach.

Simplify My Life

Keep it brief

Use short phrases with simple words. Long sentences are likely to be skipped.

Pictures are faster than words

Consider using pictures to explain ideas. They capture attention and can be 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. Allow for an ‘undo’ option in case you get it wrong.

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 non-essential options and teach users as they go.

I should always know where I am

Give users confidence that they know their way around. Make areas 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 users take time to create and let them access it from anywhere. Remember settings, personal touches, and creations across devices. This makes upgrading easy.

If it looks the same, it should act the same

Help users discern functional differences by making them visually distinct rather than subtle. Avoid modes that look similar but act differently on the same input.

Only interrupt me if it’s important

Like a good personal assistant, shield users from unimportant minutiae. People want to stay focused, and unless it’s critical and time-sensitive, interruptions can be taxing and frustrating.

Make Me Amazing

Give me tricks that work everywhere

People feel accomplished when they figure things out on their own. Make your app easier to learn by leveraging visual patterns and muscle memory from other Android apps. For instance, the swipe gesture can be an effective navigational shortcut.

It’s not my fault

Be gentle when prompting users to make corrections. They want to feel smart while using your app. If something goes wrong, provide clear recovery instructions without technical details. If you can fix it behind the scenes, even better.

Sprinkle encouragement

Break complex tasks into smaller, manageable steps. Provide 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 possible. For example, shortcuts that combine multiple photo effects can make amateur photographs look amazing in just a few steps.

Make important things fast

Not all actions are equal. Identify 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 Design Principles

AirBnB UX Design Principles

The Airbnb UX design department has a well-documented process, detailed in a series of posts that every UX and UI designer should read. There’s a lot to learn from these posts, so be sure not to miss them!

To summarize Airbnb’s design philosophy, they have grouped their concepts into four main principles. According to Airbnb’s design principles, design must be:

Unified

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.

Universal

Airbnb is used globally by a diverse community. Our products and visual language should be welcoming and accessible to all.

Iconic

We focus on both design and functionality. Our work should clearly and boldly reflect this focus.

Conversational

Our use of motion breathes life into our products, allowing 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

Apple iOS11 design guidelines
Great design comes with user based research

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:

  1. what they call themes, which they consider the difference with other platforms
  2. the design principles.

The Themes are:

Clarity. Text is legible at every size, icons are precise and clear, adornments are subtle and appropriate, and functionality drives 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 without competing with it. Content typically fills the entire screen, with translucency and blurring often hinting at more. Minimal use of bezels, gradients, and drop shadows keep the interface light and airy, ensuring content remains 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

This represents how well an app’s appearance and behavior integrate with its function. For example, an app that helps people perform serious tasks can maintain focus by using subtle, unobtrusive graphics, standard controls, and predictable behaviors. Conversely, an immersive app, like a game, can deliver a captivating appearance that promises fun and excitement, while encouraging discovery.

Consistency

A consistent app uses familiar standards and paradigms by incorporating system-provided interface elements, well-known icons, standard text styles, and uniform terminology. It features and behaves in ways people expect.

Direct Manipulation

The direct manipulation of onscreen content engages users and facilitates understanding. Users experience direct manipulation when they rotate the device or use gestures to affect onscreen content, seeing immediate, visible results of their actions.

Feedback

Feedback acknowledges actions and shows results, keeping users informed. 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.

Metaphors

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 to expose content beneath, drag and swipe content, toggle switches, move sliders, and scroll through picker values. They even flick through pages of books and magazines.

User Control

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 decision-making. The best apps find the right balance between enabling users and avoiding unwanted outcomes. An app can make users feel 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

Uber’s design principles are centered around three core concepts, each with multiple ramifications. At the time of writing, there are exactly 77 sub-principles derived from these core principles.

Uber’s great design starts with the requirement for their user experience to be:

  • Instructive
  • Non-intrusive
  • Focused and Timely

Instructive: Education through clarity.

We aim to guide users through the intended journey without assuming they know how the flow works or how to use the UI from the start.

Non-intrusive: Get out of the way.

A lot of important information needs to fit onto a driver’s phone screen, carefully crafted by our designers, product managers, and engineers. We ensure not to block any critical information at any moment, making sure the system works seamlessly and sequentially within the existing user flow and meshes with what’s already on the screen.

Focused and Timely: Not just what, but when.

It’s crucial to consider not only what information we want to convey to new drivers, but also when to convey it. Bombarding new users with all the information at once is ineffective. Instead, presenting bite-sized information when it is most relevant helps guide the user through the nuances of the moment and into the future.

As you can see, Uber’s design principles focus more on developing the user experience broadly rather than just the visual design. The UI design is secondary and should result from applying these three main design principles.

As with previous examples, I recommend reviewing the documentation and explanation of these principles. Its more technical approach is of great interest to UX designers, developers, and even those starting a tech start-up.

Source: Uber Design Principles

Facebook UX Design Principles

Facebook Design Principles

As you can imagine, Facebook has very clear UX design principles.

Although they were published in 2009 as a typical post on Facebook, they are almost completely unknown, as evidenced by the very low level of user interaction—just 23 comments and 59 shares over ten years.

However, ignoring Facebook’s design principles would mean overlooking a significant part of user experience development over the last decade.

More importantly, these principles, which are more philosophical than those from other companies cited in this article, help us understand how technology giants think about users. This understanding can help us create principles for our own ventures.

Without further ado, here are the great design principles from Facebook:

Universal

Our mission is to make the entire world more open, which means reaching every person, culture, language, device, and stage of life. Our design principles need to work for everyone. We build products that serve 90% of users and cut features that only serve a minority, even if it means short-term setbacks.

Human

Users return to our site to connect with friends and people close to them. This is a central promise of our product. Our voice and visual style stay in the background, highlighting people’s voices, faces, and expressions.

Clean

Our visual style is clean and understated, creating a blank canvas for our users. Great design comes from a minimal, well-lit space that encourages participation and honest, transparent communication. Clean design is not the easiest approach; margins, type scale, washes, and color become more important as we reduce the number of styles we rely on.

Consistent

We invest our time wisely by embracing patterns. Usability improves when similar parts are expressed in similar ways. Our interactions speak to users with a single voice, building trust. Reduce, reuse, don’t redesign.

Useful

Our product design principles focus on utility rather than entertainment. Designed for repeated daily use, they provide value efficiently. This is why our core interactions are streamlined, purged of unnecessary clicks and wasted space.

Fast

We value our users’ time more than our own. We recognize that faster experiences are more efficient and feel more effortless. Site performance should be seamless and unnoticed by users. Our site should move as quickly as we do.

Transparent

Users trust us with their identity, photos, thoughts, and conversations. We reciprocate with utmost honesty and transparency, being clear and upfront about what’s happening and why.

Source: Facebook Design Principles

Conclusion

A well-documented set of UX design principles is the cornerstone of great design. Whether we’re discussing product or service design, apps or web design, physical or digital design, it all starts with clear, concise guidelines that we can follow to create further experiences.

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