Product Design 101: UX Design Principles

You don’t need to be a UX designer to grasp the design principles that are at the heart of UX design. As the founder of a startup, you need to understand what is driving UX, which is the experience that users have with your product. This module will explore best practices in UX design so that you are fully capable of applying these methods and approaches to your product.

Silver Imac on Top of Brown Wooden Table

Focus on what users are seeking in a design.

This principle is about meeting users’ needs, not your own preferences for a design.

Less is more

This design principles emphasizes simplicity over clutter. A website that is cluttered, for example, will lose visitors.

Establish a hierarchy of how information is organized throughout a design.  

Place the important content prominently.  

Always know where you are in the design process.

Different questions need to be asked and different tools used at different stages of design.

Make your design seem “familiar” to users.

If you incorporate elements that users are accustomed to using, in general, they are more likely to accept your design faster because it will feel familiar.

Make the design as accessible to everyone as possible.

This may even mean making it accessible to people with disabilities.

Understand how the user will use the product and take their context into consideration.

Location is an example of context, as well as the type of device or whether the person is on the go.

Apple Imac on Brown Wooden Desk

Usability is crucial to user experience design principles.

You should only bring useful features to the user’s attention.

Provide a response

When someone clicks on something, the person expects a response from the product to prove that the command registered (human + machine interaction).  

Give the user the opportunity to confirm.

People may buy something inadvertently.  Before they buy it, a screen popping up to confirm the purchase would provide a better user experience because they can back out and feel relieved.

Keep the user in control.

If a user clicks on a page and wants to go back, the experience should allow to backpedal easily.

Tell a story with your design.

This principle involves balancing pace and rhythm of visual information being presented to the user.

Other things that affect the user experience are typography, visual grammar and a design’s “personality.” Following these principles will help your UX design, but there is flexibility.

You should focus on the user and let the user’s needs guide the design, so there may be times when you may “break” a design principle, but there has to be a good reason for it based on user need and acceptance.

UX design is a professional field with specially trained people who work in it day in and day out.  If you are not a UX expert yourself, you will need someone either on your team or an outside resource to guide the develop the user experience that your product will deliver to customers.


Below is an example of good UX design. You’ll likely recognize it from Apple’s iPhone. This UX firmly demonstrates that the user is in control, and if the user makes an error, the user can easily navigate out of it without having a poor experience.

You want to make your product unique and have its own identity, but you can learn from world-class companies like Apple about UX design.