The term design is associated with visual things, we design magazines, products and buildings but not music or food and this visual association has carried across when people speak about web design. But Like food, it’s as much about getting the right recipe or the right use case, flow or need - Invisible design.
Here would be my picks for 5 design principles based on invisible web design:
1. Design for beneficial feedback loops
Beneficial feedback is the opposite of virality. A virus spreads but is harmful, something which is beneficial spreads precisely because it is valuable. Don’t design things to get more users, design things where the more use the more value and therefore the more users. Focus on the product and the business will come.
2. Design for incremental value
Create something where the more people use it the more value there is for each of them. This creates community.
3. Design for the primary use case.
Do one thing and do it well. There is no scarcity of resources in Internet land so a secondary use case can be a secondary product. The scarcity is attention, design for the principal thing that will engage people.
4. Design the personal.
Small companies used to pretend to be big companies by appearing less personal .e.g. a switchboard that said “for customer service press 3″. Do the opposite. Design so that 30,000 people appear like 3.
5. Design recipes not visuals.
Achieve 1-4 with recipes not visual designs. A web design will have a specific flow and ingredients. How this looks will change based on the technology it sits on. But the recipe will be universal.