Building Character: Creating unique, consistent experiences with Design Principles
Whether we’re interacting with other people, apps, our bank, our doctor, our government, anyone—we form expectations of what someone or something will do from our previous experiences with them and their past behaviors. When something happens that doesn’t align with those expectations–that seems out of character–we’re caught off guard. What do we do next? What should we expect now?
Conversations about consistency in design often focus on topics like content and interface design. We talk about ensuring that we use the same labels, controls, patterns throughout our creations. But what if we thought about consistency in the relationship between users and our products or services? What if, in the stories we tell about the experiences we’re designing for, we approached our solutions not as a setting or prop, but as another character? What defines that character? What drives and informs the way it interacts and behaves towards the people it serves?
In life, principles act as rules that guide how we think and act. Formed by our motivations, values, and beliefs, we use them as “lenses” through which we examine information and make decisions on what to do. Because of their persistent influence on our behavior, they also influence others' views and expectations of us. In our work, we can expand our notion of “design principles” in a similar fashion and use them throughout our processes to create unique content, valuable interactions, and consistent behaviors that set and live up to expectations of our audiences.
About Adam Connor
Head of Experience Research and Design at Elixir
Adam’s work focuses on helping teams and organizations strengthen and grow their human-centered design and innovation capabilities. As a design leader, Adam’s work blends systems thinking, HCD, anthropology, and organizational behaviour to foster more collaborative, creative and customer-centric organisations. He has coached and trained teams across the world and from industry leading organizations such as Google, Disney, Fidelity, and Twitter. In 2015 he and co-author Aaron Irizarry released Discussing Design: Improving Communication & Collaboration Through Critique with O’Reilly Publishing. His thoughts on collaboration and design can be found at adamconnor.com and discussingdesign.com