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Published 11 Jul 2013

Windows User Experience Design Principles

By Microsoft Developer

These are the guiding principles for designing Windows Desktop Applications.

If you want to dig deeper into these principles there's a video on Channel 9 where Samuel Moreau, who is principle design manager at Microsoft, explains the principles in more depth. Design Principles for Windows 7

Source: Windows Dev Center - Desktop

  1. 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?
  2. 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.
  3. 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?
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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)?
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

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