Tim Berners-Lee

Architectural and philosophical points

These statements of architectural principle explain the thinking behind the specifications. These are personal notes by Tim Berners-Lee: they are not endorsed by W3C. They are aimed at the technical community, to explain reasons, provide a framework to provide consistency for for future developments, and avoid repetition of discussions once resolved.

Principles of Design

  1. Simplicity

  2. Modular Design

  3. Being part of a Modular Design

  4. Tolerance

  5. Decentralization

  6. Test of Independent Invention

  7. Principle of Least Power

Bert Bos

What is a good standard?

Why doesn’t HTML include tags for style? Why can’t you put text inside SMIL? Why doesn’t CSS include commands to transform a document? Why, in short, does W3C modularize its specification and why in this particular way? This essay tries to make explicit what the developers in the various W3C working groups mean when they invoke words like efficiency, maintainability, accessibility, extensibility, learnability, simplicity, longevity, and other long words ending in -y.

An essay on W3C’s design principles

  1. Maintainability

  2. Modularity

  3. Minimum redundancy

  4. Accessibility

  5. Device-independency

  6. Internationality

  7. Extensibility

  8. Learnability

  9. Readability

  10. Efficiency

  11. Binary or text format

  12. Implementability

  13. Simplicity

  14. Longevity

  15. Backwards compatibility

  16. Interoperability

  17. Repurposing of content

  18. Timeliness

  19. Use what is there

  20. Design by committee

  21. Expertise

  22. Brevity

  23. Stability

  24. Robustness

Dieter Rams

Ten principles for good design

  1. Good design is innovative

  2. Good design makes a product useful

  3. Good design is aesthetic

  4. Good design makes a product understandable

  5. Good design is unobtrusive

  6. Good design is honest

  7. Good design is long-lasting

  8. Good design is thorough down to the last detail

  9. Good design is environmentally friendly

  10. Good design is as little design as possible

Evan Williams

Ten rules for web startups

  1. Be narrow

  2. Be different

  3. Be casual

  4. Be picky

  5. Be user-centric

  6. Be self-centered

  7. Be greedy

  8. Be tiny

  9. Be agile

  10. Be balanced

  11. (bonus!) Be wary

Bruce Tognazzini

First Principles of Interaction Design

The following principles are fundamental to the design and implementation of effective interfaces, whether for traditional GUI environments or the web. Of late, many web applications have reflected a lack of understanding of many of these principles of interaction design, to their great detriment. Because an application or service appears on the web, the principles do not change. If anything, applying these principles become even more important.

  1. Aesthetics

  2. Anticipation

  3. Autonomy

  4. Color Blindness

  5. Consistency

  6. Defaults

  7. Efficiency of the User

  8. Explorable Interfaces

  9. Fitts’ Law

  10. Human Interface Objects

  11. Latency Reduction

  12. Learnability

  13. Metaphors

  14. Protect Users’ Work

  15. Readability

  16. Track State

  17. Visible Navigation

Joshua Porter

Principles of User Interface Design

Interfaces exist to enable interaction between humans and our world. They can help clarify, illuminate, enable, show relationships, bring us together, pull us apart, manage our expectations, and give us access to services. The act of designing interfaces is not art and they are not monuments unto themselves. Interfaces do a job and their effectiveness can be measured. They are not just utilitarian, however. The best interfaces can inspire, evoke, mystify, and intensify our relationship with the world.

  1. Clarity is job #1

  2. Interfaces exist to enable interaction

  3. Conserve attention at all costs

  4. Keep users in control

  5. Direct manipulation is best

  6. One primary action per screen

  7. Keep secondary actions secondary

  8. Provide a natural next step

  9. Appearance follows behavior (aka form follows function)

  10. Consistency matters

  11. Strong visual hierarchies work best

  12. Smart organization reduces cognitive load

  13. Highlight, don’t determine, with color

  14. Progressive disclosure

  15. Help people inline

  16. A crucial moment: the zero state

  17. Existing problems are most valuable

  18. Great design is invisible

  19. Build on other design disciplines

  20. Interfaces exist to be used

Principles of Product Design

  1. Usefulness is job #1

  2. The experience is the product

  3. Solve existing problems

  4. Look for investment

  5. Model features on real artifacts

  6. Fit and finish matter

  7. Release quality sets expectations

  8. Release a smaller, better product

  9. The last 10% is the hardest

  10. Know who your real competitors are

  11. Actual vs desired use

  12. Personal value precedes social value

  13. Users are not product designers

  14. The behavior you’re seeing is the behavior you’ve designed for

  15. Great products are focused on a single problem

  16. Disruptive products look like toys

  17. Positioning is crucial

  18. Product/market fit is when people sell for you

Sandi Wassmer

The Ten Principles of Inclusive Web Design

Inclusive Design is where innovation and imagination flourish. Meeting the needs of the widest variety of people does not inhibit creativity. It opens our minds and inspires excellence.

  1. Equitable: Be welcoming.

  2. Flexible: Provide options.

  3. Straightforward: Be obvious and not ambiguous.

  4. Perceptible: Don’t assume anything.

  5. Informative: Be timely, predictable, uncomplicated and precise.

  6. Preventative: Provide easy to follow instructions and gently guide users.

  7. Tolerant: Handle errors respectfully.

  8. Effortless: Don’t make demands or place restrictions on your users.

  9. Accommodating: Be approachable, uncluttered and give people room to manoeuvre.

  10. Consistent: Follow standards, guidelines, conventions and best practices.

Paul Robert Lloyd

Responsive Principles

We can start the work of building this framework, by agreeing upon a set design principles, each working in service of a broader goal, that of building a web that is and remains accessible to all.

  1. Start from the point of greatest adaptability.

  2. Reflect the diversity of users within our practice.

  3. Build using systems that can be reasoned with.

Massimo Vignelli

The Vignelli Canon

Creativity needs the support of knowledge to be able to perform at its best. It is not the intention of this little book to stifle creativity or to reduce it to a bunch of rules. It is not the formula that prevents good design from happening but lack of knowledge of the complexity of the Design profession. It’s up to the brain to use the proper formula to achieve the desired result.

Part One: The Intangibles

  • Semantics
  • Syntactics
  • Pragmatics
  • Discipline
  • Appropriateness
  • Ambiguity
  • Design is One
  • Visual Power
  • Intellectual Elegance
  • Timelessness
  • Responsibility
  • Equity

Part Two: The Tangibles

  • Paper Sizes
  • Grids, Margins, Columns and Modules
  • A Company Letterhead
  • Grids for Books
  • Typefaces, The Basic Ones
  • Flush left, centered, justified
  • Type Size Relationships
  • Rulers
  • Contrasting Type Sizes
  • Scale
  • Texture
  • Color
  • Layouts
  • Sequence
  • Binding
  • Indentity and Diversity
  • White Space
  • A collection of experiences

Willem Sandberg

  1. A poster has to be joyous, unless it has to arouse compassion.

  2. Red has to be in every poster.

  3. A poster has to provoke a closer look, otherwise it doesn’t endure.

  4. With a respect for society, designer and director both are responsible for the street scene. A poster does not only have to revive the street, it also has to be human.

  5. Every poster has to be an artwork.

Heydon Pickering

What the Heck Is Inclusive Design?

  1. Involve code early

  2. Respect conventions

  3. Don’t be exact

  4. Enforce simplicity

Jens Meiert

Principles of Web Development

  1. Focus on the User

  2. Focus on Quality

  3. Keep It Simple

  4. Think Long-Term (and Beware of Fads)

  5. Don’t Repeat Yourself (aka One Cannot Not Maintain)

  6. Code Responsibly

  7. Know Your Field

Dave Winer

Manifesto: Rules for standards-makers

If we work together on a project based on open tech, these are the principles I will try to stick to.

  • Interop is all that matters
  • There are tradeoffs in standards
  • Software matters more than formats (much)
  • Users matter even more than software
  • One way is better than two
  • Fewer formats is better
  • Fewer format features is better
  • Perfection is a waste of time
  • Write specs in plain English
  • Explain the curiosities
  • If practice deviates from the spec, change the spec
  • No breakage
  • Freeze the spec
  • Keep it simple
  • Developers are busy
  • Mail lists don’t rule
  • Praise developers who make it easy to interop

Josh Clark

Design in the era of the algorithm

Here are ten design principles for conceiving, designing, and managing data-driven products.

  1. Favor accuracy over speed

  2. Allow for ambiguity

  3. Add human judgment

  4. Advocate sunshine

  5. Embrace multiple systems

  6. Make it easy to contribute (accurate) data

  7. Root out bias and bad assumptions

  8. Give people control over their data

  9. Be loyal to the user

  10. Take responsibility

Lou Downe

15 principles of good service design

So, in the absence of anything else, here are 15 principles of what makes a good service. They’re based on years of working on bad services, and trying to build good ones.

A good service must…

  1. Enable a user to complete the outcome they set out to do
  2. Be easy to find
  3. Clearly explain its purpose
  4. Set the expectations a user has of it
  5. Be agnostic of organizational structures
  6. Require the minimum possible steps to complete
  7. Be consistent throughout
  8. Have no dead ends
  9. Be usable by everyone equally
  10. Respond to change quickly
  11. Work in a way that is familiar
  12. Encourage the right behaviour from users and staff
  13. Clearly explain why a decision has been made
  14. Make it easy to get human assistance
  15. Require no prior knowledge to use

Brian Eno

Design principles for the streets

Several of the principles were immediately useful, and put straight into practice; they either reinforced an earlier thought or opened up entirely new vistas. Several others are unfurling as we go. A few more are more broadly relevant, well beyond our street-oriented agenda. Here they are:

  • Think like a gardener, not an architect: design beginnings, not endings
  • Unfinished = fertile
  • Artists are to cities what worms are to soil.
  • A city’s waste should be on public display.
  • Make places that are easy for people to change and adapt (wood and plaster, as opposed to steel and concrete.)
  • Places which accommodate the very young and the very old are loved by everybody else too.
  • Low rent = high life
  • Make places for people to look at each other, to show off to each other.
  • Shared public space is the crucible of community.
  • A really smart city is the one that harnesses the intelligence and creativity of its inhabitants.