I wanted to share some principles I learned while working as a designer in software projects. Of course, there are a lot of other principles and guidelines in the daily work that is important, but these are some I want to write about today.
Diversity and Inclusion
Have you ever walked into a conference room full of stakeholders only to see middle-aged white men? Yeah me too, and it makes me sad and angry every time.
But when we design and build products for the real world, its a requirement to have a team that is diverse to understand all angles and needs. We need to benefit from peoples different experiences and backgrounds. Don’t exclude anyone over age, religion, origin, gender or looks ever. The person you actively choose to not include because of your own bias might have the solution to your problem.
Internal politics can break a team, product or even a company. It can spawn hidden agendas or even worse, the feeling that there are hidden agendas when in reality there are none.
Fill the walls with designs, wireframes, personas or any other documentation that you have created. Always externalize your work to everyone, it’s not only a great way to get feedback but it can also help spread the “why” among your teams. It’s really important that everyone knows why we make something and what the goal is. If you are expected to drive a car but no one tells you what the destination is, it’s hard to make it. Make transparency part of company policy today!
Sometimes it feels like I spend hours and hours asking questions like “Do we really need all this text?” or “Is this really a required feature for the user to solve the task?”. If I would be a superhero my name would be Lower The Cognitive Load Man.
Genius is the ability to reduce the complicated to the simple.
- C.W. Ceram
I find it rare that time is set aside in a project to reflect if we can solve an interaction in a more simple way by taking features out of an interface. Usually, the users are met with a wall of text that nobody reads and a general cognitive overload.
The reason why startups like Klarna and Spotify are so successful is not that they have a whole new innovative idea per se, they deliver the same service but it is simpler than the competitor’s products.
I hope we all know by now that we need to test our designs and assumptions with users to make sure we build the right thing to solve the right problems. But most people I come across don’t seem to understand the difference between what some call users and the real end-users.
I come across a lot of stakeholders that considers themselves users because they used the system and that they can give feedback for the other users. This is called The False-Consensus Effect.
The false-consensus effect refers to people’s tendency to assume that others share their beliefs and will behave similarly in a given context. Only people who are very different from them would make different choices.
- Raluca Budiu (NN/g)
It is so important that you query those stakeholders and spend time learning who the real end-users are and talk to them.
This was 4 of the 7 principles for good product design. Read about all the 7 principles here