Design Principles Checklist

Are you designing for Time Well Spent? Find out by running your product through the following checklist:


1. Does your product honor both on and off-screen possibilities?

Most apps and websites offer screens of choices that implicitly tell the user to stay on the screen (like a spending 10 minutes pogo-sticking between nearby restaurant results on Yelp). In your product, how could your design include choices that take the user off the screen, or help them remember what they really want to be doing?


2. Does your product make it easy to disconnect?

It's hard to disconnect from many products without lingering concerns that cloud our ability to be present and keep us checking. In your product, how can you design to make it easy let go of those concerns and and live without coming back to check again?


3. Does your product enhance relationships, or keep people isolated?

Many products unintentionally give people choices that keep them isolated – a next video to watch by themselves, a document to work on by themselves – which leave people disempowered. In your product, how could you offer social choices that bring users together, or empower people to find warmth and social support just a click away?


4. Does your product respect people's schedules & boundaries?

Many products send emails or notifications on their schedule in order to maximize conversion or fulfill the businesses' goals. In your product, how can you respect the timing, frequency and duration of use that would most align with the user's ideal life? 


5. Does your product help people "get life well lived" (GLL)?

Even products that help people "get things done" (GTD) can lead to moving deck shoveling an infinite set of tasks that aren't the most important. In your product, how can you help the user "get life well lived" (GLL) and focus on the things that matter to them?


6. Does your product land specific, "net positive" benefits in people's lives?

Many products talk about how they want to help people's lives, but how can we actually measure it? In your product, can you identify the most lasting "time well spent" experiences and optimize in order to bring about those changes?


7. Does your product minimize misinterpretations and empower truth-seeking?

Many text communication products make it easy for people to misunderstand each other and lead to unnecessary conflicts that prolong screen time. In your product, how can you help minimize misinterpretations and emphasize clarity and mutual understanding?


8. Does your product eliminate detours and distractions?

Many products mix in distracting detours on the way to the user's goals. In your product, can you find any ways people get sidetracked while trying to fulfill a task? How can you design to respect people's intentions and goals by giving them end-to-end pathways?