The PRInCiPleS Framework for Design Plans & Explanations. A full paper with example can be found here. This is intended to be used at the start of the project to gain an understanding of the project. This is by no means rigid. Adapt it to the individual project.

Title of the project/brief

Frame the problem

In order to understand the value and measure success, frame the problem with the 4 Ws in mind:

Why – Why is this a problem worth solving? Is it an acute* problem? How
acute*? *present or experienced to a severe or intense degree
Who – Who has the problem? Have you validated it is a real problem? Can you
prove it?
What – Is the nature of the problem? Can you explain it simply? How do you
know it is a problem? What evidence is there to support it is a problem?
Where – Does this problem arise? What is the context? Have you seen it in
context? Can you describe that context?


Predispositions are the things we believe to be true at the outset of a design
process or explanation.
Here are some questions to ask at the kickoff meeting.

• What do we know?
• What do we not know?
• What are your assumptions about the project?
• Who are the users?
• What are your assumptions about the users?


Research comes in three forms, namely:

1. observations—or primary research (user research, competitive research, what we
have today)
2. literature review—or secondary research (best practices and standards, existing
3. collections—or knowledge about cultural forms (design inspiration and cultural


Insights are the design issues that arise out of research.
Here are some questions to ask once research is synthesized.

• What did we learn?
• Does more research need to happen?
• Is this still a viable project?
• What is potentially challenging?
• Are there any gaps?

Concepts & Concept Systems

Concepts and systems of concepts are the things, services, communications, or
strategies that we envision in response to insights.

• Epics, features, user stories, sketches, lo-fi wireframes


Prototypes come in three forms, namely:
1. exploratory— or behavioral or low fidelity prototypes
2. appearance—or look and feel prototypes
3. usability—or proof of concept or high fidelity prototypes
What type of prototype is needed?


Strategies come in three forms, namely:
1. social value—or social desirability planning
2. technology—or technological feasibility planning