Notes on Eric Celedonia’s Improving UX with Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling

(based on a post by Eric Celedonia on InVision’s blog, link here.)

For brevity’s sake, I am skipping the original Pixar rules and just summarizing their UX counterparts—go to the original post above for the whole thing!

  1. Your work will never come out perfectly the first time. Fast-following fixes are fine, if alliterative.
  2. Pretty design might not be what the users need. Ya gotta observe their needs with analytics and interviews
  3. Don’t get mired in the quest for perfection–release early and often. If the first version isn’t a little embarrassing, you probably slowed down product development. If your product is lightweight, you’ll be able to quickly evaluate feedback and apply it to the next iteration.
  4. For _(blank user type)_, who has these _(user problems/frustrations)_ this product _(insert value props)_, unlike _(list competitors)_ who _(list competitors values/detractors)_, we _(list differentiators)_.
  5. Simplify! Focus! Combine or cut features. Stick to the essence of the product and users can grab onto the product better.
  6. What is the main issue you are solving? Think of some problems you haven’t already anticipated—does it break down your system? Do you need to accommodate these problems—be sure to rigorously evaluate their importance.
  7. What is the optimal experience of your product? Use this as a measurement for success.
  8. Finish and launch the essential products before adding extra features. Make sure the core goal is achieved before moving on.
  9. Don’t get hung up on the initial ideas. Keep a list going of other ideas that might work–or even ones that really won’t, who knows where the inspiration will come from!
  10. Think about products and software you love to use. What can you learn from design aesthetics and voice from that? What do you intuitively enjoy about them? Capture that in your product too.
  11. Get ideas out of your head as quickly as possible–sketches, white boarding etc. Document it and keep it posted so it’s continually part of the conversation.
  12. Discount the first idea—and the second, third….get the obvious out of the way. Then keep going, you may be in for a good surprise.
  13. Make your product distinctive and surprising—consumers quickly bore of the safe option.
  14. Why are you solving this problem? How much impact will it have on customers? A positive impact encourages social sharing and helps get a product out into the world.
  15. Empathy requires taking off the business hat and thinking like a user. (Even better, doing some user research!) Unnecessary ideas will be easier to recognize and eliminate.
  16. Try to break your design. Discover where things break down for specific users and work to correct it.
  17. No work is wasted–even if you ultimate discard it, it’s all part of the process and absolutely necessary for moving forward.
  18. Demo your work soon and often! Constant feedback builds stronger products.
  19. Where might users get frustrated or dissatisfied? How can you address these concerns?
  20. Think about a product you like but which has some features you don’t like. Why don’t you like them? Why do you continue to use the product anyways? How can you apply any insights to your product?
  21. All possible solutions require early and frequent usability testing. All of them.
  22. What’s the smallest possible product you can build? As you build it out, continually look to your elevator pitch to ensure that you haven’t scaled out too much. Save something for the next release!

From the blog:  Eric Celedonia
Eric is a seasoned UX and UI designer stationed in Austin, TX, and currently working as a Product Designer for Handsome LLC. Growing up in Ohio, Eric attended Kent State University where he focused on print and interactive design. In his years dedicated to the digital design space, he has worked from ideation to launch with a wide range of agile product teams. Some of his past clients include FareCompare, Union Bank, Auto Trader, Kelly Blue Book, and Google.


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