Being Principled

More and more digital teams are sharing their ‘principles’ these days and we are currently having a hard look at some of our own at work. As soon as we have something worth talking about I’ll publish them here of course but the process has got me thinking about previous encounters with this idea.

While GDS kickstarted the current trend (within the public sector/academic world anyway) with their extremely useful 10 Design Principles the first time I was really aware of the idea of a set of underpinning principles for a web team was from another high profile British institution. The BBC.

Back in 2006 the BBC embarked on the BBC 2.0 project (a name so wonderfully of its day) and as a part of this the project team (led by Tom Loosemore later of GDS) published a set of 15 Web Principles that reflected the best thinking on how to approach a major web project at the time. The fascinating thing is just how many of those high level principles still hold today (not the mention of Second Life though – there was never any excuse for that!)

It goes to show that ‘best practice’ has been available for quite a few years now and that while people will often pay lip service to the ideals of ‘user first’ designs and service it takes real work and a laser focus to actually make this a reality. Not to mention real buy in and support across any organisation trying it because the reality is it is hard and forces people to think differently.

Here are a few examples of other principles that have been shared since GDS opened the floodgates;

Bath University Digital Delivery Principles
Jisc Design Principles
Bristol Museums Digital Principles

For a wider list check out this site – a great resource.