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Core Design Principles

At Discovery Education, we design tools that enable education at a global scale. Great experiences provide meaningful outcomes for our users. Our goal is to make education better for everyone, no matter their location, ability, or level of experience.

Design for Clarity

  • Eliminate ambiguity. Enable people to see, understand, and act with confidence.
  • Design with context in mind.
  • Understand user needs, and where the user is within the experience.
  • Only provide information at the point of need, through the most effective channel.
  • Have a clear hierarchy of information.

Design with Consistency

Consistency is not exact replication. Rather, it's a harmonious uniformity, instilling predictability and stability no matter where they are in the product. Being consistent gives users the power to anticipate what will happen next. And when users encounter something that is expected, it creates a sense of comfort and trust. Usability is greatly improved when an experience acts and feels the same throughout.

  • Always use existing elements when possible.
  • Do not design new components, elements, experiences, or variations solely for visual change.
  • Consistency improves the experience across the entire product suite. When something looks and acts the same way everywhere it becomes easier to use and understand.

Design for Everyone

Good design should work for everyone. Keep in mind that the people using our products are extremely diverse. User diversity covers variation in capabilities, needs, and aspirations. Empathize with a full spectrum of potential users instead of designing around a checklist.

  • Accessibility is not optional. Everything we design or build needs to meet our standards for accessibility.
  • Our designs need to enable everyone, regardless of location, skill, ability or technology.
  • Everyone has the same rights to use our products. Intentional or not, disallowing people from using a feature is a failure of the system.
  • Be mindful of global factors such as text length, direction, cultural sensitivities, and location-based language patterns.

Design with Intent

Every element in an experience should have a purpose. Provide all the necessary information in a sleek and elegant way, be distinct, clear, and concise with our users. Deliberate color choices, imagery, typography, and intentional white space create an interface that immerses the user in the experience. An emphasis on user actions makes core functionality immediately apparent and provides waypoints for the user.

  • Consider existing options and/or interface before building something new.
  • Think critically about new interface elements. Are they going to improve the experience or the user’s ability to complete a task?
    • Does it make more sense to rework existing elements rather than creating new ones?
  • Design should have a purpose. If the design does not serve an explicit purpose, is it required?

Design in the Open

A design system is a community effort. The people who implement Comet are also it’s makers, all members of the community are encouraged to contribute.

  • Collaborate with others (Designers, Developers, Content Strategists, Product Managers, etc.)
  • Talk and show what we’re making as we make it
  • Be open to learning from others
  • Be willing to experiment, even if the end result is not used

Design with Empathy

Focus on empathy and Human-Centered Design. Consider and understand the people behind the product to help individuals accomplish their goals. Empathy is the ability to understand and share another personʼs perspective, feelings, and challenges. Go out of your way to identify with your user's needs.

  • Be useful and spark delight in functionality
  • Design with personality — consider human elements to better connect with users
  • Consider your audience and design for them

Design for Flexibility

The Comet system is designed to be flexible. Components are designed to work seamlessly with each other, in any combination to fill the needs of an experience.

  • Validate earlier, learn faster
  • Learn from what people do, not just what they say they do
  • Make evidence-based decisions (Qualitative and Quantitative)
  • Respond to change
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