Design principles

Last changed: 21 May 2024

The design principles help us reach a good and functional website that is both user-friendly and technically robust.

The design principles are the fundamental guidelines that govern the development of the new website. These principles not only influence the design itself but also the features, code, and editorial content.

We have identified seven key design principles that will guide the project:

  • Legal compliance
  • Manageability
  • Consistency and standardisation
  • Performance-focused
  • Easy to do right
  • Design with data
  • Distinguish between user needs and desires


All content on the new website must adhere to relevant laws and regulations. This includes language laws, data protection, copyright, and accessibility.

Examples of measures to increase legal compliance:

  • We control more content using templates
  • We limit the number of third-party products
  • We redesign the website structure and remove infrequent publishers.


We aim to build smart and think long-term. This means that we

  • prioritise quality over quantity
  • dare to reject requests
  • keep the code organised.

Consistent and Standardised

By adhering to standardised and consistent solutions, we create a unified and professional web experience for our users.


  • When using standard products, we are cautious with customisations (as otherwise upgrading to later versions can become difficult).
  • When needs are similar, we strive to find common solutions.
  • With a consistent design, we create clarity and predictability for our users. At the same time, we facilitate our editors by limiting the number of choices.


Good performance is one of the cornerstones of the new website. We optimize our website for fast loading and short response times.


  • We prioritise speed over design by compressing images and limiting the number of fonts.
  • We prioritize management over new development.
  • We work hard on continuous cleaning and decluttering – both automated and manual.

Easy to do right

We avoid complicated solutions with many options. This way, not every web editor needs to be an expert on laws and regulations.

Examples of actions:

  • We offer simple, functional (and robust) page types and blocks.
  • As far as possible, we incorporate smart support for accessibility, analysis, and quality work.
  • We are changing the website structure with the hope of being able to offer more qualified support to web editors.

Distinguish Between User Needs and Desires

We put the user (=visitor) in the first place, and prioritise development according to user needs and the website's objectives.

This doesn't always align with the business's desires regarding what should be prioritised. Therefore, this principle is often applied in combination with the principles of designing with data, consistency and standardisation, and manageability. In other words, we cannot meet all desires.


A department has a specific desire for a particular sorting order to display a list of publications based on the unit to which the first author belongs within the institution.

This is an internal desire and not a user need. We will not develop a special sorting because it is not relevant for the website's target audience to sort based on the institution's organisational structure. Such development would also complicate future management through unnecessarily complex code.

Design with Data

By using insights from user data, we can create a more efficient and user-centric website.

  • We avoid guessing and assuming
  • We continuously test and analyse
  • We use data as a basis for prioritisation


A block present on the current website will not be included in the next version. This decision is based on the fact that it is currently not used extensively enough, and the click-through rate indicates that the functionality does not serve its purpose effectively.