3 Rules Every Designer Needs to Know

  • by Brian Probus
  • Feb 24, 2015

AppDesign

Being an effective designer is often challenging. Add in small screens, even smaller attention spans, and a mobile arms race for the next big thing and design becomes downright problematic. Instead of falling into the second screen rabbit-hole, designers must bring themselves back to basics: less is more.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer distilled this principle in a recent Fast Company article with her 3 rules of app design.

  • Designers under her lead at Google were made to follow a “five-point rule”, meaning that they should count a point for every different font, font size, and color used on a page and if it went above five, the page would be redesigned.
  • She also implemented a two-tap rule, meaning it should never take more than two taps to do anything in the app.
  • Her last rule was called the “98% rule,” which essentially meant that every app should be designed for how it will be used 98% of the time.

Say what you will about Yahoo! and its current CEO, these 3 rules are solid and foundational. Her 5-point rule is particularly useful, as nothing can smother a page’s ability to communicate like a cluttered and chaotic layout, too often seen in airline or retail company homepages. These rules force the designer to step back from the narrow focus of visual aesthetic and to briefly consider the complexities of UX and UI. Designing for mobile is as much about making screens look pretty as it is about making apps instantly intuitive. Mayer’s three rules help the designer achieve the later.

Finally, the article ends with an amusing twist, as Fast Company’s John Brownlee wonders how different Yahoo’s homepage would look if only they followed these three rules.

Read the article here: 3 Rules of App Design, According to Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer

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