Bluelime Media Design Principles

I had the pleasure of attending the Interlink Conference last Friday and loved every minute of it. The speakers were all very knowledgeable and gave excellent presentations. Following the event, I hopped on a plane and headed down to Portland for the World Domination Summit (WDS). Although both conferences covered very different topics, the main message that I got from that three day weekend, was simple – be yourself and be the best you can.

Whitney Hess gave a great presentation on the Principles of UX Design. In her talk she challenged the audience to read companies’ design principles and guess who they were. Some of these were then discussed and mocked a bit. Facebook claims that transparency is an important principle of theirs, yet, we’ve witnessed the opposite on many occasions. Charles and Ray Eames have a delightful list of principles and these are clearly felt in their designs. I’ve never been to Burning Man, but my friend Kathleen immediately guessed them to be behind this ambitious list of design principles.

Although the topic of WDS wasn’t Web design, similar set of discussions happened throughout the rest of the weekend. Whether you call them business principles or design principles, the principles you live by are what define you and make you who you are. On the flight back to Vancouver, I took a pen and paper and decided to make my own list. I probably should have done this 8 years ago when I started this company, but better late than never. So here is my list:

Bluelime Media Design Principles

  • Do good work
  • Code to standard and best practices
  • Keep files organized and easy to understand
  • Always look for better ways
  • Update client work even if they don’t ask
  • Find the easiest/best solution for the client
  • Suggest alternate designer or developer if I can’t do the work
  • Help others
  • Teach
  • Connect people
  • Be positive

Use 4 Design Principles to Gain Market Share

Jared Spool of UIE has written a little case study of how the company Pure Digital has captured 13% of the video camera market in just a few months. They designed the Flip Video camera with 4 principles that really made a difference:

  1. Think like a minimalist. The camera has just a few buttons to do what the vast majority of users want to do: record, play, delete, zoom, scroll through movies, and control volume during playback. Compared to multi-level menus in most cameras, this minimalism creates an ease-of-use that sets them apart.
  2. Remove your customer’s worries. Their different approach to batteries means the camera owner doesn’t have to think so much about the batteries and is more likely to use the camera as a result.
  3. Eliminate that which has no value. They loaded the software onto the camera instead of a disc, so there’s no need to install software on any computer you go to. The camera does it all seamlessly.
  4. Integrate the next step. Realizing that the next logical step after making a movie is to share it. so, they made it easy to email your video or share it on YouTube

I think these principles are great ones to keep in mind whether you’re designing a website, a physical product, or a service, and especially if you are designing an end-to-end customer experience that may include all of these things.

Read Jared’s full article here.

Highlights from An Event Apart Seattle

One of the things I love about being a web designer is that there is always more to learn, be it from other web specialists or your clients. Last week at An Event Apart Seattle Tzaddi and I had the chance to learn from some true experts. The speakers were not only masters in their fields, but engaging and generous with their knowledge.

Here are some highlights:

  • Watching Eric Meyer write CSS (you know you’re a geek when…)
  • Jeffrey Zeldman’s talk on “Writing the User Interface” confirmed my experience: the words in a web design matter much more than you might think and can really make a difference in how visitors use your site. So long as it invites clicking, it matters more what a button says than what it looks like.
  • Peaking into other designer’s processes, from beautiful sketchbooks to user research.
  • I enjoyed Jeff Veen’s succinct message which shows the benefits of doing your design research up front vs. the cost of changing your mind partway through the build. He also discussed why web design is so much more complex now than it was in the early days of the web, when everyone using the web were of the same type (geeks).
  • Shawn Henry shared insights for ensuring your site is accessible to varying abilities; from folks who read the web with braille or speech readers to limited vision users — who magnify screens to an amazing degree, but want the same site that was designed for regularly sighted users. Bottom line: there is no substitute for engaging disabled users in the design process if you want to build truly accessible sites. Her book on accessibility is free online.
  • Andy Budd shared how a delightful user experience is worth more than the sum of it’s parts in the loyalty that can create.