I strive to design thoughtful, well-crafted applications. In order to do that, I have a core set of principles that drive my design decisions.
Form follows function.
Before anything else, the design of an application is to be shaped by its intended purpose. This purpose must be clearly communicated to the user. To me, this is a universal truth. It is something that I place a lot of focus on with each product I'm involved in. If a user doesn't intuitively know what to do, or at least can't move in the right direction, then the UX design isn't where it needs to be.
The user's experience should not be dictated by technology alone. It is our responsibility to provide a quality experience regardless of device or screen size. This is geared toward interface design for web applications, and more specifically, ensuring consistent functionality across browsers.
Improvement by Removement.
Focus on intention. Strive for simplicity. A user can easily get overwhelmed and intimidated by an application that bombards them with features and options.
I think about these principles often and they typically trigger more questions than answers. There are so many examples of extremely complicated and dense applications (Photoshop, Jira, Xcode) that it makes me question whether striving for simplicity is the right approach. But, if it takes hours of training, hours of use, AND hours of trial-and-error to get to a point where you're productive with a tool - has the tool been designed well?
Lastly, removement really is a word. ;)