Our customers come first - We shadow our customers, meet them for focus group sessions, and run the designs by them at every stage in the design process.
We stuck to our four design principles — clarity, efficiency, consistency, and beauty — repeatedly. They help us prioritize and make tough calls.
We convert our patterns into a design language, componentize every design element, and create a living design system for us and our customers to reuse.
One of the key focuses on this project was to design on the browser. This meant converting our designs and interactions into prototypes. The prototypes helped us design for scale, responsiveness, and user testing. Using the prototypes as a playground to play with interaction patterns, design layouts and animations helped us hone and polish the experience.
We started testing with our users - right when we finished our first iteration of sketches. We rely immensely on our customers to help us define and prioritize features. We invite our customers for focus groups, user testing sessions, and maintain an online forum where we can bounce ideas and design iterations by them. We hold numerous internal design critiques and iterate on every detail of the experience.
Performance was a key focus while designing this experience. Its not always about how fast the system works, its often about how fast the users think the system works. In order to provide maximum value to the users, we used stencils and incremental component load to improve the perceived performance. We worked hard at polishing animations so they not only add delight but also clearly reflect the consequence of an action.
We were not designing a specific app or product, but we were designing a platform. This was extremely challenging because while we wanted to express our point of view on the user experience, we had to design for customizability. In order to help our customers, we created a living design system. Our design elements were componentized and our interactions were patternized. Our entire user experience was essentially a orchestration of these components and patterns. We open sourced our design language so that our customers could use this to build on the platform, and maintain the same look, feel and ease of use.
Our customers interact with Salesforce on desktop, mobile, tablets and on their watches. We worked hard to find the right balance on each of these devices. While our users expect a consistent experience across these devices we had to optimize the interactions for that specific device.
We did this by defining key flows for every device and vetted them with our customers. Then we optimized the experience and interactions for these key flows while using the same responsive design components.
We are a fantastic team of product designs, user researchers and engineers. Working on this project is huge collaborative effort. As one of the lead product designers, my role is to take this project from inception to release, which includes - shadowing customers, sketching, designing, prototyping, testing the designs with our user researchers and customers, and closely collaborating with engineers.