User Experience Guiding Principles

We always share our User Experience Guiding Principles at the RunSignup Symposium every year, when we do our annual User Experience presentation. It occurred to us that we’ve never blogged them, so here it goes…

Many user experience teams have a wonderful manifesto, featuring illustrations, and examples, even videos. Their principles are sometimes baked into their design systems. Sometimes they are separate. They are beautiful to look at and detailed in their explanations.

We…don’t have that.

We have a short, simple, black-and-white Github wiki article. It would be nice to add some illustrations to our principles, examples, maybe even some more words. But that’s not us. We’re spending our time on the products, and the tools we use to make the products.

Like everything we do, we iterate our Guiding Principles, and improve them over time. Some are the same, some have changed, some are new. As we grow, we hope to embed them into our design system and freshen them up. For now, we’re busy trying to create products people love, and getting out over well over 1,000 releases each year.

Essentially, our User Experience Guiding Principles are what we think about in the background, while we are taking care of our day-to-day activities. Our list is nothing innovative. Many other UX teams are thinking about the same things. We feel it’s healthy to write them down, think about them, revisit them, and evaluate them, and that is what we do.

Here’s our humble list of User Experience Guiding Principles:

Be consistent

Make the behavior of common interface elements as consistent as possible. Establish reusable patterns. Familiarity creates proficiency.

Manage complexity

Allow the users to read less, and understand more at a glance. Don’t overload the user. Offer advanced features when asked. Make things easy to start with. Low cognitive barrier to entry.

Be fun, friendly and factual

Our brand personality is fun and approachable, but extremely knowledgeable. We care about our customers, and genuinely want to help them. Our products will reinforce this brand personality.

Get mobile

The majority of our traffic comes from mobile devices. Continue to enhance the mobile experience. Design small, and scale it up.

Be inclusive

Continue to create accessible components and flows. Good design is inclusive design.

Design ethically

Design with the intent to do good. We will never surprise our users with hidden opt-ins. We value and respect our users.

Create products that people love

Delight our users with useful solutions, intuitive UI, modern aesthetics, subtle animation, and concise (but fun) messaging, that reflects our company’s values, culture, and commitment to our craft.

So that’s what we’re thinking about. It’s simple, but it helps us to stay focused on what’s important.

As always, let us know what you think.

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