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10 guiding principles for creating great user experiences

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Mark Howlett, a digital designer here at DLG, recently delivered a user experience presentation at Digital’s monthly Bytesize session.

The presentation focused on 10 guiding principles for creating great user experiences, as detailed by our head of digital design, Richard Beaumont.

It seemed like a good idea to then turn the presentation into a blog, so here are 10 guiding principles for creating great user experiences:

1. Focus on the quality and integrity of the customer experience

Keep this principle front and centre. As designers we’re sometimes accused of creating beautiful designs first and putting the user second.

2. Create customer experience champions

Identify, upskill and empower customer experience champions and practitioners from across the business to live and breathe the customer-centric message.

3. Be led by problems, not by solutions

Work through problems informed by a diverse mix of perspectives from across the business. Create problem statements and agree to them - it brings clarity and gets everybody aligned behind a common purpose.

Remember to use design thinking practitioners, tools and techniques to help facilitate. Working alongside data gathering analysts helps us understand the user and their behaviour. We should always make design changes based on data.

4. A Minimal Viable Product (MVP) isn’t an excuse for ‘that’ll do’

If a product doesn’t do what a customer expects it to they won’t give us a second chance. Embrace any technical constraints and work around them to make an MVP as usable, functional and loveable as you can from the very start.

Think like a child — keep asking why? why? why?

5. Data is wonderful, but shouldn’t replace creativity

With data you can test and learn regularly, helping to drive decision-making. That said, you should also think creatively. Data will definitely help inform your thinking, but it won’t give you the answers. Prototype and test your ideas quickly, and don’t be precious about those ideas.

6. Design mobile first

By tackling complex design problems in the most challenging format from the outset, other designs will hopefully fall into place more easily. This also ties nicely into the fact that Google algorithms love a well-designed mobile site, so thinking mobile first is fundamental for good quality SEO results.

7. Keep asking why?

Making something simple to use isn't always easy — complex technical systems and strict compliance rules see to that. Don’t use “it’s always been that way” as an excuse. Think like a child — keep asking why? why? why?

8. Think about context

View your work-in-progress on the devices your customers use (not everybody has the latest iPhone). See what our customers see. Use our products how our customers will use them. If you rely solely on emulators the experience will suffer.

9. Write for real people and involve copywriters from the very start

Remember that words are fundamental to the user experience. Insurance jargon and technical mumbo jumbo will only confuse and frustrate our customers. If you wouldn't say it, why would you write it?

10. Design is a behaviour, not a department

It’s easy to place the responsibility of creating great digital experiences onto the shoulders of designers, but we need to remember that it’s everybody’s job to ensure we reach our user experience goals.