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31 Dec 2020

Medium design principles

These are some of the early design principles for the blog publishing platform Medium. They were posted publically by Dustin Senos as a reply to an article by Julie Zhuo named A Matter of Principle. See the source for more info.

Source: Creating useful design principles


The principles

  1. Direction over Choice

    This principle was often referred to while we were designing the Medium editor. We purposely traded layout, type, and color choices for guidance and direction. Direction was more appropriate for the product because we wanted people to focus on writing, and not get distracted by choice.

  2. Appropriate over Consistent

    This might seem controversial, but when applied across devices, its purpose is clear. We were willing to break consistency if it was more appropriate for the OS, device, or context.

  3. Evolving over Finalized

    This is exemplified in the ability to share Medium drafts, write responses, and leave notes. The content on Medium should be antifragile, improving with use and evolving overtime. We did not want to design printed books for the internet.

1. Direction over Choice

This principle was often referred to while we were designing the Medium editor. We purposely traded layout, type, and color choices for guidance and direction. Direction was more appropriate for the product because we wanted people to focus on writing, and not get distracted by choice.

2. Appropriate over Consistent

This might seem controversial, but when applied across devices, its purpose is clear. We were willing to break consistency if it was more appropriate for the OS, device, or context.

3. Evolving over Finalized

This is exemplified in the ability to share Medium drafts, write responses, and leave notes. The content on Medium should be antifragile, improving with use and evolving overtime. We did not want to design printed books for the internet.