Design Principles Behind Great Products

Lately, I needed to come up with some top level principles for the product I’m currently working on. I seek for some simple yet powerful concepts that will guide our team design decisions and break stalemates in discussions. For the first step, I decided to look around to see what others come up with. Through a miracle of time, I bring together this compilation, that should be useful for those who face the same challenge.

Design Principles Behind Great Products

The range of principles

Wrapping up

  • Principles of good design
    a scope of rules that define a great design.
  • Principles for the design process
    explains the way of work to create great products.
  • Design principles for the products
    how a product should feel, what emotions should it brings, what distinct it from the others.
  • Design principle for the systems
    unify your product experience in different circumstances.

Do you need design principles for your product?

What are the good principles?

  • Simple
  • Have a real world examples
  • Guide design decisions
  • Reflect your brand


Here we go:




Google Material Design



Firefox Design Values

  • user-sovereignty
  • default to privacy
  • no surprises
  • actionable advice
  • research gives a voice to our non-core community
  • start people with smart defaults
  • implicit as well as explicit customization
  • invite people to be more than users
  • user control and choice
  • simple to use the services you choose
  • suggest ways to get the most out of the web
  • feels like there is a person at the other end
  • fun tools are easier to use
  • humour and whimsy
  • have a point of view
  • see also our visual design guidelines
  • continuity of look and feel across platforms
  • perceivable quality is vital
  • global means local and local and local
  • 80/20/2: default to surface minimalism and easy access to the rest
  • user-agency and understanding, not just less
  • focus on real human tasks and contexts
  • many real tasks involve a browser and other tools
  • quick access to your stuff and web
  • no jargon
  • performance is objective, but responsiveness is subjective
  • a happy user performs better



  • Discover
    One ideal discovery experience occurs when people feel they found the answer for themselves.
  • Try
    Trying out a product should be as engaging as taking a test drive in your first car.
  • Buy
    Purchasing a software-based product or digital service should be as simple and straightforward as buying a coffee. Steps and details about what goes where should always be obvious. Give users a sense of excitement once their purchase is complete.
  • People are quick to form opinions when introduced to something new, especially if it is something we expect will improve their lives.
  • Get users to their work fast and show them personally relevant ways to get value from your product. Charm them with unexpected moments to show them you thought of everything, just for them. Never underestimate the little things; users are instantly gratified when you save them time, attention, hassle or even space on their desk.
  • First use isn’t finished until personal or business value is delivered.
  • Defer to the content to help users understand the path to reaching their goals.
  • Allow them to personalize the product to better fit their needs.
  • Provide a forgiving environment where mistakes are easily reversible.
  • Keep them motivated by ensuring that the right actions and tools are readily present.
  • When they’re done, give users a sense of accomplishment and help them feel proud of their work.
  • Manage
    A product that’s easy to manage invites frequent use. A user who doesn’t have to think deeply about managing how well a product works is a happy user. Whether it’s an administrator who’s responsible for an entire organization or an end user getting the job done, designing management tasks to be obvious makes for positive experiences. Remember, with either user group, the expectation is “don’t trouble me with management.”
  • Upgrade
    Minimize user involvement and disruption in the upgrade process.
    When introducing significant user experience changes, don’t leave your users guessing at what’s new or what has been removed. Notify them that a change is happening or has happened, what occurred and how it affects them.
  • On user-desired forums (for example, web search results and sites such as TechCrunch)
  • As nurturing during Discover, Try and Buy or Getting Started
  • As easily accessible during Everyday Use
  • As command line interface help for Leverage and Extend


  • Design for explorers
  • Delight and surprise our users
  • Earn Trust
  • Be the brand
  • Make money
  • Showcase our best
  • Organize the page by relevance
  • Respect the need for speed
  • Give just enough and offer more
  • Present a seamless experience



  • It’s intuitive, not learned
    You understand how things work without any direct explanation.
  • It makes the user feel powerful
    Nothing makes you feel uncomfortable or like you can’t trust the system. The system provides you with the right components and asks you what to do next.
  • It makes the content taste better
    The framework is totally seamless and hidden. You don’t notice it until you interact with it. You get to decide what you want it to be, instead of us forcing it on you.
  • It’s colorful
    The personality is bold and stands out.
  • It’s visually responsive
    The experience interactions in a physical way.
  • It’s unexpected
    The experience is playful and fun, but never overwhelming.
  • It’s built for exploration
    Just like a children’s toy, you want to try it out just to see what will happen. The more you investigate, the faster you learn and the more you get in return.
  • It’s impossible to mis-tap
    Everything is designed to help you navigate easily and do exactly what you had in mind.
  • It’s reversible
    If you accidentally do something that doesn’t produce the results you were looking for, it’s obvious how to correct it.

Lyft Design Principles


Asana’s Design Principles

If your product have some good Design Principles or you think I missed a great set, contact me, and I’ll add them to the list.


Related Articles and Resources

  1. Design Principles FTW biggest collection of design principles
  2. A Matter of Principle by Julie Zhuoproduct design VP @ Facebook describes what good design principles are
  3. Design a Better Product with Product Principles by Ste Grainer — some beautiful diving into the process of choosing the principles
  4. A matter of design principle(s) by Cătălin Bridinel — some principles from a designer, with examples
  5. Why design principles shape stronger products by Jessie Chen—more process of defining principles for your product
  6. Aligning your team through design principles by Stephanie Hornung

Design Principles

  1. Airbnb “Building a Visual Language Behind the scenes of our new design system’’
  2. Airbnb “Designing For Trust
  3. Google Material Design
  4. Apple iOS Human Design Guidelines
  5. Microsoft Design Language Principles
  6. Facebook Design Principles
  7. Salesforce “Defining Principles to Drive Design Decisions
  8. IBM Design Language
  9. Bing “Designing Bing: Heart and Science
  10. Medium “Creating useful design principles
  11. Firefox Design Values
  12. BBC GEL Design Philosophy
  13. Lyft Tips from Lyft: Let Your Brand Drive Your UX Decisions
  14. Foursquare “Introducing the all-new Foursquare, which learns what you like and leads you to places you’ll love
  15. Foursquare “Designing the new Foursquare
  16. Pinterest “Redesigning Pinterest, block by block
  17. Asana “Developing our design principles

Design Principles Behind Great Products

Hello, friends! I made the compilation of subtle principles that drive design decisions in widely known products and…