Product UX principles at a glance

Taking advantage of confinement to jot down notes from archives and projects on user experience and design. There’s stuff from Krug. A good bookmark: Shopify’s UX Laws list.

  1. Users like conventions. You can’t beat common sense. If everyone is looking for that button bottom right, no need to be creative. If Apple, Google or Facebook have established a norm for a billion people, just follow it.
  2. Get rid of ambiguity. PMs I’ve worked with know about my obsession with clarity. Anything can can be misunderstood will be misunderstood. Simple labels, obvious calls to action, clear expectation on what’s next.
  3. Little distractions sum up into massive distraction. Reduce noise. Remove anything unnecessary or just in case. Cognitive burden (search Hick’s law for more).
  4. Users will click the browser back button.
  5. If a problem is solved by some tool or solution, users won’t be looking for another one unless orders of magnitude better. Viceversa: if something is hard to use, users will find something else.
  6. Choices are OK as far as they are unambiguous/mindless. Binary choices are far better than ternary. Four options is too hard. (related to Hick’s law again)
  7. Write short copy. The shorter the better. Make copy scannable at a glance: bullet points, bold keywords, paragraph headings. Give hierarchy and structure to deep dive into details for users who are interested in more.
  8. Keep fixed navigation reference points. The same menu/home/navbar all the time.
  9. Use the user’s language. No jargon.
  10. 200ms is the minimum hand/eye/brain action/reaction time. Below, it’s unnoticed. 200-400ms is a natural (mechanical) feedback reaction time. Above 400ms things start feeling slow.
  11. Things that are related should be located close to each other. (search Fitt’s law for more).
  12. On the web, users will get in from any page. Every page is a home page.
  13. Consistency: call one thing one way, always. Keep link texts/app labels consistent with the target landing page/next screen title. Things that are similar should look similar (lists, cards).
  14. Make important things stand out. Large/bold/different action buttons, titles, next step options.
  15. Color is to be used as a subtle cue to reinforce other cues, not the only cue.
  16. Clear framing of a site/page/screen content and value (tagline, blurb). If not, users will interpret their own way. What content is available here + What can be done here.
  17. If anything needs explaining, it’s too late.
  18. Test early and often. Avoid building anything that is not a need resulting from feedback.
  19. What to change first? Effort vs impact in this order: 1. Small fix, large impact. 2. Small fix, small impact. 3. Large fix, large impact. 4. Large fix, small impact.