Design Principles


Blackboard, as an organization, grew in its design maturity during Rob’s tenure. A shared understanding of product quality was achieved by choosing and defining words that represent the types of products Blackboard strives to create.


The goal of creating design principles was to change company culture so that there would be a common language defining product quality. Rob worked to define these principles and incorporate metrics for ensuring that each project was measured against these principles.


For every project, the User Experience team determined which principles were key for the success of the project. They worked with project teams to determine what success would mean. They team then used internal ratings and ratings from usability tests to determine how well the product met the design goals. These measures were tracked over time to ensure that Blackboard consistency raised the user experience of its products. We knew we had succeeded when even a developer indicated during a team meeting that a current design was “not delightful enough.”