How to design for bridge

People matter most. It’s a philosophical thing.

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Principle #1

Listen to Your Customer

“People ignore design that ignores people.”
Frank Chimero, Designer
“Guess less, research more.”
  • Get real data on people’s needs to make sure you’re solving real problems and building the right solutions. Hunches or anecdotes are a good starting point, but need validation.
  • Avoid making choices based on how you’d want the product to work yourself.
  • Try for a holistic view of your customers. Think about how they experience entire flows or systems. Consider their experiences outside your system, their feelings, and interests.
  • Conduct usability testing & UX auditing regularly to ensure your work is as people-friendly as intended.
  • Measure and iterate to get results. Design features with a meaningful, measurable result in mind. After release, gather data on your work’s effectiveness. Make needed adjustments and iterate until you get the results you were after.

Principle #2

Tell a Story

“Tell a story. Always. When writing, tell a story. When presenting, tell a story. When resolving conflict, tell a story. When leading a meeting, tell a story. Whenever in doubt, tell a story.”
Cameron Moll
“A narrative is always your first deliverable.”
  • Make it your responsibility to help your team understand the why of products and projects using stories. If a team agrees on the why, they have a better chance of uniting on the what.
  • Take initiative to spread customer empathy through storytelling. We want people to feel the pain and delight of our customers. Take time to share customer anecdotes with everyone on the team.
  • Combine data, ideas, and customer compassion into effective narratives. Stories are more persuasive—and complete—than raw data or abstract ideas. They help bring these ingredients together with a sense of warmth and humanity.
  • Use stories to unite a product team and build a compelling vision. Help your team understand the problem and imagine a world with a great solution.

Principle #3

Sketch Away

“When something seems overly complex, or you don’t understand it- start drawing! Visualize!”
Devin Little
“Think—and fail—in sketches.”
  • Use sketching to visualize your thoughts when you’re stuck or disoriented. Being able to see your ideas can help you better scrutinize and improve them.
  • Learn to explore divergent solution ideas in simple sketches. Examining several possible solutions leads to better problem-solving.
  • Focus your thoughts through lo-fi prototypes. When you don’t have to think about color, weight, composition, etc., your mind is free to focus on the meat of the problem.
  • Use lo-fi prototyping to signal to your peers that an idea is in its early stages, flexible, and open to feedback. Avoid over-investing in ideas, or growing emotionally attached to them before they’ve proven themselves.

Principle #4

Do Feedback Right

“Psychological safety, in an organizational sense, is the feeling that it’s ok to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other.”
Mike Davidson
“Feedback is the lifeblood of a healthy design team.”
  • Be vulnerable. Share your ideas early and openly. They don’t need to be polished before you speak up. You don’t need to look smart in front of your peers.
  • Don’t be afraid of feedback. Seek it out to refine and redirect your concepts. Be curious. When you receive feedback, reward it with active listening and real consideration.
  • Give clear, honest feedback. When you do, be precise in critiquing the solution, not the person who proposed it. Having said that, don’t shy away from tough conversations. Great relationships facilitate good communication, they don’t discourage it
  • Encourage and respect ownership and autonomy. Once the debate and feedback are done, allow the person in charge to move forward in the way they consider best.

Principle #5

Design for Feasibility

“Design adds value faster than it adds costs.”
Joel Spolsky, creator of Trello
“What matters is what gets built.”
  • Collaborate with engineers at the earliest stages. Include them in interviews and research, embrace the constraints they present you with, and empower them to help you solve problems.
  • Use our design library and UI components, as well as established Bridge patterns, to speed up design and development. When you suggest adding to these, be prepared to defend your suggestion.
  • Be a pragmatic problem-solver, with the maturity to see the difference between must-haves and nice-to-haves. Fight only the most important battles on behalf of the customer.
  • Strive for simplicity in your solutions. Great design solves the problem with the least amount of effort and investment.

Principle #6

Iterate Quickly

“There has to be a willingness to constantly accept critical feedback and rapidly iterate to make things better”
Sam Yagan
“Test your work and learn.”
  • Design teams that produce great products have something in common—they habitually test their designs.
  • In collaboration with Product Managers and Engineers, they build prototypes of high or low fidelity and put them in the hands of colleagues and customers, collecting fast feedback and correcting mistakes early.
  • These product design teams have a huge competitive advantage over those that get feedback only after their product ships: they learn faster. They spot problems quickly and fix them.
  • They talk to customers early and align the product to their needs.

Principle #7

Be a Team Player

“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.”
H.E. Luccock
“Collaborators, not heroes.”
  • Collaborate early and frequently with product managers and engineers. Connect with them personally and professionally. They’re essential to the design process.
  • Embrace your strengths and understand your weaknesses. Find members of your team who have what you lack, as well as those who need your help. Learn to find fulfillment in both helping and needing help.
  • Broadcast customer needs and design thinking throughout the Bridge team. Make friends with people of all roles, listen to their insights and needs, and share your own.
  • Make communication and collaboration ubiquitous and casual. Don’t worry about going through ‘proper channels.’ Reach out to whoever. Talk to whoever. Make friends with whoever.

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