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Windows User Experience Design Principles

  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.