Experience Principles

Vanguard

About

Design Governance

To ground our design vision and actions, it was crucial to outline and embed core experience design principles into every aspect of our work. These principles were driven by deep user research and competitive analysis and served as our north stars.

My role

Senior Product Designer

As one of the most senior product designers, I was tasked with the more complex user flows and interactions. For this feature I collaborated with our researchers, creative director, and client stakeholders.

Product team: Domestic & international product designers | copywriters | developers | creative director | product management | client stakeholders

Design for everyone


The same action can be triggered by users with wildly different motives and emotional contexts. Accommodate all of them.
Supporting Tactics
→ Use supportive, encouraging but emotionally neutral language when crafting microcopy. The tone of the interface should make no assumptions.

→ Offer rich customizability so that users can tailor the experience to their preferences and expectations.

→ When crafting calls to action, avoid jargon and use basic human terms that are legible to all types of people

Always explain why

Users should never be in the dark as to why they’re doing well, or not doing well. Support any assessment of their progress in the context of their own goals and milestones.
Supporting Tactics
→ Any time an assessment or status qualifier is given, utilize on-mouseover / on-tap tooltip text to provide more information and offer the user a means of organically growing her expertise.

→ Any time a recommendation is made, or a best practice is communicated, offer the user the opportunity to see the holistic big picture – not just the benefit of following this recommendation, but also the potential impact of ignoring it. It’s crucial that this is done delicately, without scaring the user or creating a sense of pressure.

→ Wherever possible, justify any assessment or recommendation with personalized insights tailored to the user, rather than general principles that she then has to translate back to her own situation.

Meet people where they are

Whenever information is shown or a decision is required, guidance must also be present. Users should never have to navigate away from where they are to achieve a basic understanding of what they’re looking at, or being asked to do.
Supporting Tactics
→ Design a flexible, unobtrusive nudge component that can be inserted into any location on a page, and anchored to to any content or interaction it relates to.

→ Limit the preliminary amount of copy on that nudge to a sentence or less, but always give the user the option to expand it without leaving the page, in order to show more information.

→ Include a call-to-action within every nudge that leads the user to a much more detailed learning destination where she can dive deeper into the details of whatever she’s learning about. On-click, the link should always open in a new browser tab, and should never navigate the user away from her current location without her permission.

Explain just enough, with the chance to go deeper


Task-oriented users will find too much education distracting, but learning-oriented users require it. Find the right balance.
Supporting Tactics
→ The user should always be able to see the minimum amount of information necessary for comprehension, without any clicks.

→ The user should be able to move past comprehension toward understanding, with one click and without leaving the page.

→ Any time the user elects to click a link in order to learn more, open a new tab. The user should never need to navigate backward to apply the knowledge she learns during her deep dive.

Show what matters. Hide what doesn’t.

Don’t expose users to concepts or information until it becomes relevant to them.
Supporting Tactics
→ When suggesting content or recommending functionality, always ensure that it’s relevant to the user’s immediate context of need, that it is immediately apparent to her why she’s seeing it, and that she can receive an immediate benefit from engaging with it.

→ When executing on this experience principle, don’t go too far in the other direction and scrub valuable affordances. The user doesn’t know what she hasn’t learned yet, and seeing affordances is how she begins to spatially orient herself to the digital experience.