10 Commandments of User Experience | npENGAGE

10 Commandments of User Experience

By on Mar 22, 2010


Raina Van Cleave and Nick Finck  gave a very informative and succinct presentation on what characterizes a great end user experience. They summed up the qualities of great design into 10 Commandments – these commandments aren’t written in stone however but when designing your web presence thou shalt:
1.  Design to the User – they are always right
Don’t focus on your needs as an organization. We typically design from the inside out (data > logic > user experience) rather than from the outside in (user experience > logic > data)
2. Understand the User
Determine the personas who are interested in your organization and how they are engaging with the site.  This should be advocated throughout organization and doesn’t have to be a document could be life-size cut outs.
3. Avoid solutioneering
Identify and fully understand the problems
4. Design with form following function
What is your primary function?
What is your focus?
What functions are secondary?
What are your edge cases? (Acknowledge that they are edge cases and don’t design to those.)
5.  Understand that content is king
Design is about communication
95% of your web users aren’t reading 80% of your content, they are scanning and looking for something in particular.This doesn’t mean your content isn’t import it means it is really important!
Use headings, bullet points, lists, tables where needed and other design elements to communicate your message
6. Innovate do not imitate
Example Nike+ – Nike didn’t just add their logo to a pedometer they created a new product that captures information that enables those to capture data on their runs and even participate in a virtual race  – The Human Race 10k.
They designed a new and better pedometer and added extra community behind it to make the Nike+ a true innovation that became more than just a pedometer.
7. Access is for everyone
Keep in mind everyone’s needs for example: be ADA compliant, think about if children visit your site, and what various backgrounds and cultures make up your audience
Don’t forget about mobile – large screen vs. small screen
8. Plan before you design
Don’t make your website into an online example of the Winchester Mystery House.  The Winchester House the Victorian mansion in San Jose that was built onto constantly with no planning because of belief in a curse that if the building stopped haunting would begin. The house is an eccentric collection of oddities, staircases that went to ceilings, windows that opened up inside.
How many websites just tack on new features without any regard to planning?
9. Understand the goal
How easy is the first time a person visits?
How quickly can they perform that task again when they come back?
What errors are encountered?
If your website could just do ONE thing what would that be?
10. Learn from failure
What has worked for your organization in the past, but more importantly what hasn’t worked.


From time to time, a guest blogger will appear on npENGAGE. Guest bloggers are industry experts contributing useful, relevant content to the conversation on npENGAGE. If you are interested in being a guest blogger, contact the editor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *