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Design principles for better iteration

I recently wrote about iteration. Here are 4 design principles you can apply to this:

1. Frame the problem

Make sure that you frame the underlying problem whenever you’re designing a new solution.

2. Explain why

Every time you move to a new design approach explain why. Iteration should mean a new or different approach so write a summary of what’s changed or what you’re testing.


We’re testing [this] approach for the first time. We’ve designed it [this] way [because]

We learned [this] in the last round of user research. We now think that taking [this] approach will mean that [this] will work better

Further reading: Everything is hypothesis-driven design.

3. Don’t compare

Don’t treat iteration as A-B testing. It’s not about testing multiple designs to see which design people prefer. Focus on one design approach at a time until you understand why this does, or doesn’t work.

4. Don’t go back

Remember that you moved on from a particular design approach for a reason. This should be when you learned when something didn’t work from user research. It’s rarely good to go back.

Ben Holliday is an experienced design leader, writer and speaker. This is his blog (started in 2005). You can follow all of Ben's blog posts by subscribing to the RSS feed, or follow him on Twitter for more regular updates.