Design Optimisation Principles

The Short and Sweet

Great design is:
1. Useful – it does the job in the best way.
2. Clear – it is easy to do the job.
3. Efficient – it is fast and simple to do the job.


  1. Useful design is functionally appropriate to the user’s uses.
  2. Useful design provides the most pleasing way of performing a task so that the user is driven to use it to perform the task.
  3. Usefulness design is easy enough to understand so that the user actually uses it.


  1. Clear design is consistent in its functional aesthetics: layout, visual cues and functionality.
  2. Clear design is logically presented; the visual experience correlates with the business process logic.
  3. Clear design is well guided; it has meaningfully worded screens, useful tips and guidelines, context sensitive help and user guides and training tutorials as applicable.


  1. Efficiency design requires the minimum of user interactions to successfully perform a task.
  2. Efficient design makes doing the most frequently performed tasks easy.
  3. Efficient design is consistent because consistency cuts down the time a user, especially a new user, must spend wondering how to do a task and also consistency helps minimise the chances of doing the wrong thing mistakenly.
  4. Efficient design is understandable because this cuts down the time a user must spend learning the design.
  5. Efficient design is flexible; well designed software can often cater for two or more business uses on a single screen.


Relevant Agile Manifesto Principles

AMP #1
‘Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.’

AMP #4
‘Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.’

AMP #9
‘Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.’

AMP #10
‘Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.’

See Also