Our Guiding Principles

Culture · Aug 14, 2013

Our Guiding Principles are woven through every concept, user story, sketch and design. They are the DNA of our project. They are the genetic instructions mapping out the product and productivity of each team member and scrum. These are our principles:

Focus on customer needs first

The design process is about identifying and thinking about real customer needs. Design around those – not around the “official process”.

Too often solutions are designed to “fit” current processes or the implementation of backend systems. We need to define the “happy path”. What is the best way to make this a great experience for our customers? While there are some backend systems that are “beasts” working around them should never be where we start. These issues just take longer to solve and we need to start with the right path, to get there.

Mobile first

Currently 20% of traffic visiting our existing sites is from Smartphone and tablets and this trend is only growing. Clearly the way our customers chose to get in touch with us is evolving. A mobile friendly site allows us to move with our customers, rather than forcing them to come to us. Our support centers and storefronts are now exactly where our customers are, when they want us.

Another advantage of designing for mobile first is it forces us to keep it simple and keep it clean. We now look at content differently. What is the critical messaging? What is superfluous? Copy that would typically fit a legal size sheet of paper now must work on a postcard. And if the messaging will work on a Smartphone it will definitely work on a desktop.

Make simple experiences

“No matter how cool your interface is, less of it would be better” – Alan Cooper

Our customers have told us – our current site is cluttered, it is hard to find what they are looking for, navigation isn’t intuitive. Less is more. They want a quick and simple experience. Our customers want to get in, complete the task they set out to do and get out quickly.

Optimize for performance

How useful is a best in class design if it isn’t fast? User experiences must be great from both a design and performance perspective.

Validate assumptions

Validation is essential to every element we build. Where there are different approaches to solving a problem, we go with our intuition but we validate our assumptions through 3 valuable sources; our customers, agents and data.

Our customers are engaged through validation sessions, we study how they use our prototypes, if their interaction with our designs is what we expected, we gather their opinions and study their reactions. Similar exercises are done with TELUS agents and we also confirm our assumptions with data collected from A/B testing, page traffic, drop-off rates and survey results.

This is a team sport

Collaborate. Be nice. Have fun.

The key to our success is collaboration. Developers, Writers, Project Managers, Subject Matter Experts, User Experience and Visual Designers sit side by side to create and innovate together. Idea generation, problem solving, passionate discussions, decisions, and building all take place around the table. The quality of our product is very much dependant on how well we work together.

Our Guiding Principles are not just objectives hanging on our walls. They are key elements we validate against our designs. We hope you hold us to our principles and call us out if you feel we are not meeting these tenets.

Authored by:
Elizabeth White
Elizabeth White
Former Product Owner