Trumble’s Laws

Some time back, when I was building a user experience research team for a company who’s name you are probably more familiar with than you’d like, I developed a list of five rules over time. Posted on the whiteboard outside my cubicle with a healthy dose of additional snark.


There was more than a decade between law number 1 and number 5.  (Technically I think my first law pre-dates the web, but not stupid ideas about how to approach your work.)

I developed a handful more since I left that place in 2011.  My guidelines for developing good user experiences came at a faster rate when I started doing government consulting.   Draw whatever conclusion you’d like.  I’ll attribute it to doing something different for a change.

For your consideration, distilled and aged from two decades in the trenches.

Trumble’s Laws

  1. There is no such thing as an internal customer.
  2. Deception is not a sustainable business model.
  3. A few words are worth a thousand pictures.
  4. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are things we aren’t talented enough to organize.
  5. Calling someone by their name is not personalization; it’s patronization.
  6. The alphabet is just another method for creating a random order.
  7. Don’t design for the 10s at the expense of the 1,000’s.
  8. If a visitor chooses to find a place on your site, don’t try to convince her to go somewhere else.
  9. Be explicit not implicit; apparent not intuitive.
  10. If you take the time to include something on your site, make sure you don’t hide it.
  11. Design is a process for solving problems.  If you don’t or can’t define the problem, you won’t find the solution.
  12. A Strategy is not a pitch.
  13. Serendipity is not a preferred method for information retrieval.
  14. Help, doesn’t.
  15. Problems are to be solved, not admired.
  16. Innovation is good and all, but if a user has never seen anything like your UI before, bless your heart.
  17. Brown Bag Lunches do not a communications strategy make.

Oh, and about Feel Good Fricasee?