Windows User Experience Design Principles
Reduce concepts to increase confidence
- Have you introduced a new concept? Why? Is it necessary?
- Can you get rid of unneeded concepts?
- Are you making meaningful distinctions?
- Does the UX continue the same concept?
Small things matter, good and bad
- What are the important "small things" seen often or by many?
- What small problems are you solving?
- Do less better.
- Don't cut the small things in your experiences.
- Plan for the thoughtful details.
- Fix the small bugs.
Be great at "look" and "do"
- What is your UX great at? Does its look reflect what it is great at?
- Does the first thing users see reflect what the UX is great at?
- Does the UX match expectations?
- Is it obvious what users can do?
- Are you providing only the necessary steps?
Solve distractions, not discoverability
- Reduce distractions.
- Don't let features compete with themselves.
- Commit to new functionality.
- These are not solutions to poor discoverability:
- Pinning an icon in the Start menu.
- Putting an icon on the desktop.
- Putting an icon in the notification area.
- Using a notification.
- Having a first run experience.
- Having a tour.
UX before knobs and questions
- Turn down the volume of questions.
- Ask once.
- Don't require configuration to get value.
- Was the question asked already?
- Look for opportunities to consolidate.
Personalization, not customization
- Does the feature allow users to express an element of themselves?
- Have you made the distinction between personalization and customization?
- Does the personalization have to be a new feature, or can it make use of existing features and information (such as the user's location, background picture, or tile)?
Value the life cycle of the experience
- Consider the user experience at all stages:
- Installation and creation.
- First use and customization.
- Regular use.
- Management and maintenance.
- Uninstall or upgrade.
- Walk through the experience as if it has been used for 12 months. Does it have:
- Realistic content.
- Realistic volume.
Time matters, so build for people on the go
- All UX principles apply equally at 12-inch and 20-inch screen sizes.
- Be interruptible.
- Account for starting and stopping (fast return, and do not get in the way of other UX).
- Account for getting and losing connectivity.
- Performance is the universal UX killer.
To learn more about how these principles were used in the Windows 7 design process, see: