Our user experience (UX) design principles are the guideposts for product design work. They serve as our compass to keep us on the same path through the design process.
- Define value for our web-based products
- Allow designers to create and implement designs that align with our values
- Create a shared language and clear framework for design iteration and refinement
UX design principles
These apply to CMS public websites, and are strongly encouraged for all CMS-sponsored sites.
- Use similar looking elements and controls when functionality is similar.
- Use similar wording and tone.
- Make things simple and intuitive.
Guide users to the finish line.
- Make things behave the way users expect, based on familiarity with external tools/sites.
- Be sure users can complete the action or outcome they're seeking.
- Tell users when they complete their action; provide notification of when the completed outcome.
Be usable by everyone.
- Create designs that are universally usable and accessible. The UX doesn't need to be identical for all users, but must be accessible.
- Consider all types of users to determine usability and accessibility – vision, hearing, mobility, color blindness, dexterity, cognition, etc.
- Meet 508 and 504 required guidelines at a minimum. Strive to go beyond minimum requirements for optimum UX.
Set user expectations.
- Use framing and other techniques so users know what's to come.
- Leverage wayfinding best practices.
- Be transparent.
Clearly explain results.
- Clearly indicate issues or errors.
- Use the plain language and terms users understand, not technical or legal jargon.
- Ensure data is accurate for all users. If data is accurate for only a subset, you can only use it if that data can be targeted to just those users.
- Make it easy for users to set up and change information and communications preferences.
- Build so information is secure and shared across channels appropriately.
- Provide options for users to get information they need through a digital channel that they're most comfortable.
- Keep information meaningful, user-focused, and tailored to provide a personalized experience regardless of the user's role.
- Anticipate role changes over time and build that into the experiences – roles can change even within a single user session as they progress through the UX.
- Allow highly customized search experiences – do this in place of making recommendations for specific results.
Alleviate stress with empathy.
- Consider the user mental model when creating experiences.
- Follow CMS' tone of voice for content to be reassuring, positive, helpful, and human.
- Understand the underlying problem before attempting to solve it.
- Continue to innovate and improve – nothing is frozen forever.
- Don't try to solve everything at once – solve for main user needs first and then make enhancement.
- Leverage user research and data analytics to find enhancement opportunities.