Published 27 Jul 2014
"The set of UX axioms has gone through an evolution over the last year as I iterated through the concepts, refined and combined ideas. I started with 150 concepts that were combined and synthesized into an initial set of 50 axioms presented to IxDA Grand Rapids in December 2012. Over the course of 2013, I presented the UX Axioms several times and further synthesized the set down to 21 Axioms. I recently added a few more axioms to the set I felt were missing. The current set stands at 26 UX axioms. Once the axioms are finalized, I will work to produce a card deck similar to the previous Design Axioms and Health Axioms decks produced by Invo. As you go through the axioms, you may notice that several of them equally apply to how we make sense of the world and how we craft our products that are birthed into the world." Erik Dahl
Source: UX Axioms
UX design starts and ends with people. It's not everything, but designing for people should be your focus. We need to stop fetishizing the objects we create. It is in their transparency that they fulfil their function.
We focus on a holistic approach to design. It isn't just about people completing their tasks, it is about the quality with which they do it.
Stories help us understand who we are in the world. They represent our values and our mental models. We need to understand the stories people tell so we can craft our own stories and our own products.
Patterns help us prioritize behaviors both of current and ideal experiences. We look for patterns to understand the world around us and we use patterns to craft the products and services we create.
We need to make sure we are solving the right problem before we focus on a particular solution. Creativity and innovation are expressed in the problem finding as much as they are in the problem solving.
No matter how much research we do, there will always be assumptions that are made during the design process. Our role as designers is to expose these assumptions, create hypotheses to test and de-risk our solutions.
UX design is about constantly zooming between the big picture and the details. We need to create a systematic strategy for our design work and also focus on the micro-interactions. When we change one we need to re-evaluate the other. UX design is about simultaneously attending to both the macro and the micro.
Our work as UX designers is naturally synthetic. It's a process of boundary crossing and bridging disciplines. It's our responsibility to be literate in all the material we shape and craft.
Behavior is best understood through observation. We design for people by understanding how people behave.
Narratives are great, but they don't tell the whole story. We need to craft models to show relationships between objects and to tell multiple layered stories at the same time.
Every project contains some sort of constraints, which should be embraced and exploited. Embracing constraints can liberate and force the designer to create novel design solutions.
The law of conservation of complexity states that applications have inherent complexity that needs to be dealt with in product development or user interaction. Complexity provides power, but don't make people deal with a complex interface.
Design with purpose. You should have a rationale for every design decision you make. "Because its cool," "Because it's trendy," "Because I wanted to," "Because it's a best practice" is not good enough.
Much of how people interact with products and services is dependent on their expectations. We need to understand, actively set, and manage people's expectations.
UX design extends well beyond the project at hand. You should craft everything from organizations to emails as carefully as you craft your products or services.
UX designers do more than tactical design work. UX is about creating product strategies, bridging silos, and facilitating communication. The designer creates a space for shared understanding.
There are always creative solutions to problems and most of these can be a win-win for everyone. Accept opportunities and figure out how to make the best of them.
You have to understand the entire customer journey, not just a few key moments. You have to understand how people move through interactions.
Making your work visible allows you to externalize your working memory and make connections you couldn't otherwise make. It also allows you to more easily collaborate both passively and actively with other people.
Design is about creating artifacts or environments that communicate with people. UI's are like a conversation and you need to create and close feedback loops to make people feel confident.
UX design should fundamentally be about making things and putting them into the world. But many of the things UX designers make are sacrificial concepts and should be used as a means to an end.
It's all about the context. You need to understand the context you are designing for and the context you are creating and supporting with your design. Context drives usage.
Don't be distracted or seduced by feature-creep. Focus your business and your product or service on a core benefit and over-deliver. Once you've established your core, you can extend systematically.
Human emotions are at the core of perception and interaction. As a UX designer you must understand emotions and how to design for emotion.
Trust is at the core of all human relationships and it's no different between people and your products or your brand. You always need to establish and foster trust.
UX design is not a solo sport. You need to learn to play nice with others, because they can extend your capabilities and get things done.