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22 Principles of User Experience

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User experience is the practice of designing things to reflect the realities of how they are experienced by people. This is a practical approach to design that considers context of use and the perspectives of end-users including their needs, expectations and perceptions. The following are common principles of user experience design that can be adopted as guidelines where it makes sense by a team or individual designer.

Know Your User

Designers directly connect with users and are immersed in the culture surrounding their product.

Fit for Purpose

Design things to be well adapted to their function.

Context of Use

Designs consider the various ways that things are used in the real world.

Value Sensitive

Consider the values and sensibilities of users.

Design to the Edges

Consider the full range of human characteristics and abilities. Avoid designing for the mythical average person.


Aim for designs that are productive and pleasing to use.


Make efficient use of resources, including the user's time.


Design for resilience.


Reduce risk through design including designs that make human error difficult to achieve.


Consider all the senses including taste, smell, touch, sight, sound and sensation.

Look & Feel

Consider the overall visual appeal of things. Go for style and refinement as it is seen by your users.


Design things to be engaging such that users feel immersed in your product.


Never keep the user in the dark. Give them feedback as to the current state of things.


Provide information scent to make things easier to find.

Desire Path

Consider the way that people naturally want to use your design.

Lead Users

Engage the users who are pushing your product to its limits.

Personalization & Customization

Give users control to change things to their liking.

Least Astonishment

User interfaces are intuitive and clear such that they are learned quickly with little effort.


Avoid being so dynamic that environments feel unstable and unpredictable to users.


Build things to human scale.

Essential Complexity

Avoid complexity that doesn't add much value. Removing things can add as much value as adding things.

Use & Improve

Designers use their own product daily and well immersed in user feedback. Designs are continually improved before they are generally releasable.
Overview: User Experience
The practice of designing things to reflect that realities of how they are experienced by people.
Also Known As
Related Concepts

User Experience

This is the complete list of articles we have written about user experience.
Context Of Use
Customer Needs
Desire Path
Error Messages
Fit For Purpose
Human Error
Human Factors
Human Scale
Industrial Design
Input Is Error
Look And Feel
Media Design
Naive Design
Sensory Design
User Experience
User Persona
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