With power comes responsibility. So it's been said time and time again.

With the power of creating designs that are both stimulating and usable comes the responsibility of using them in a way that will make AI, our clients, and the end-user pleased.

Over the years, I've developed certain philosophies regarding art and web design, and would like to share them with you below.

If you have any thoughts on my philosophies, please feel free to contact me directly. I'd love to hear them.

Ai's Guiding Principles of Design

1. Engage beginners and attract experts.
Make a good first impression with aesthetics and innovation for the "Wow factor". Concentrate on the overall User Experience, not a specific function or feature. Use emotional design to feel human and engage users on deeper level. Personalize the experience whenever possible, as long as it is relevant. Empower users with control and freedom whenever it is reasonable.
2. Be useful for the user.
Ensure that our products are useful, desirable, and valuable to the person using it. If we don't, they won't use it anymore. Determine who our users are and what their goals are in using our product. Design to effectively accomplish their goals.
3. Stay on target.
Once goals have been defined, limit distractions. Focus users' attention by presenting fewer choices. Understand that every element added to a page detracts from the rest so don't be afraid of whitespace. Avoid adding features just so they can be ticked off a list. Strive for well-exposed and well-designed key features and workflows over quantity.
4. Don't make users think.
Make things simple and intuitive; a design should be self-evident (if not, then self-explanatory). Make our products predictable by employing consistency and using industry standard user interface conventions wherever possible. Make things efficient by employing recognition, rather than recall, so a user can "look" and "do". Context is important, so group related objects near each other and provide signposts, cues and strong information scent.
5. Create visual and functional consistency.
Create a visual hierarchy that matches the user's needs and communicates effectively with a consistent "visible language.". Strive for consistency, but don't make things "consistently wrong." Design in patterns; ensure that things that look the same behave in the same way, and an action always produces the same result. Always reinforce brand guidelines.
6. Be human, helpful and forgiving.
Have empathy; don't let users shoot themselves in the foot. Design the application so that contextual help is available to users when they need it. Use constraints appropriately and proper default values to help prevent errors in complex tasks. Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors by providing friendly, informative and timely feedback tailored to the current situation. Make actions reversible by providing the ability to undo and redo actions.
7. Every millisecond counts.
Time matters, so design for people on the go. Optimize the design for the most frequent or important tasks. Reduce latency so you don't squander users' patience. Make use of effective writing. Stay out of people's way; good design is unobtrusive. Employ image optimization and sensible use of multimedia.
8. Be worthy of people's trust.
Be visually credible with professional design. Openly display certifications and information sources. Stay up-to-date with changing information. Communicate openly and clearly about security and privacy.
9. Be flexible for today and tomorrow's business.
Understand today's business requirements and plan for tomorrow's. Give our system, our customers and our users flexibility and power. Design for the world so that our interface can be localized for other geographies without redesigning.
10. Be accessible.
Make every effort to conform to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level A criteria as a minimum. Level AA and AAA criteria should be met if possible and reasonable. Use WCAG 2.0 guidelines as opposed to Section 508 because: 1) The success criteria are specific, well defined and testable. This makes it fairly easy to match WCAG 2 success criteria to 508 criteria once the common needs are matched. (2) The sufficient techniques for matching success criteria satisfy the needs identified by Section 508 web criteria at a level to provide equally effective access.

 

Design Process Guiding Principles

1. Know the problem before attempting to solve it.
Gather requirements to determine what is needed, not what is wanted, and design the solution to fulfill that need. Don't let proposed designs stop you from designing a better solution. Avoid "Design on the spot". Small things matter, good and bad, so be thorough, down to the last detail.
2. Know our users and design for them.
Use personas and scenarios to target our primary users. Acknowledge that the user is not like you. Understand their needs and help them accomplish their goals. Speak their language and avoid jargon. Good design makes a product understandable by its users, not necessarily by its creators. Focus on the experience and ease of use over the ease of coding.
3. Validated designs over expert (or non-expert) opinion.
Sketch before making it pretty (and discuss abstractions versus specifics — “selection” vs. “combo-box”). Test early, test often. QA for functionality and compatibility.