Workflow first

When I was working on the Export to Word feature1, which allows the admin to export a SurveyMonkey survey to Microsoft Word document; our product manager, Gaurav gave me some valuable advices about the workflow:

Consistency is more valuable than DRY

Don’t Repeat Yourself is kind of a golden standard in the software engineer, but the end users may not appreciate that in the UI, they prefer a consistent, intuitive user interface, don’t make me think.

For example, in the Matrix of Drop-down Menus example, we can render drop down menu in the column of the table header, or in each cell. The latter approach is self-explained and much easier to understand.

Explicit is better than implicit

The zen of python also shines in the production design. For the comments in the example, a underline placeholder will make perfect sense to prompt user’s actions.

Avoid the jargon

Use the plain English regular Joe can understand even it is less accurate. Export to DOCX is accurate, but more obscure than Export to Word.

Be part of workflow

The feature should be part of the workflow. The magic Export to Word button should be placed on the page the admin wants to take the action. Understanding the workflow and being aligned to streamline the workflow will be a more considerate design.


  1. this feature originates the docxgen development