Design is all about rendering intent. If your intent is a great user experience, follow these six plays to help you get there.
Do some research before designing anything
Your users are easy to find. Get out of the office and talk to them before discussing features, visuals, or technical requirements. Learn about their expectations, what frustrates them and what delights them. Watch them move through the process that you're trying to improve and map their journey. Collectively reflect on your findings and make sure everyone involved has a shared understanding of user needs.
Design from assumptions, not requirements
Don't design based on strict pre-defined requirements. Instead, use the findings from your user research to form some assumptions about what's needed (and not needed) in your design. Design from those assumptions and understand that your first solution probably won't be the best and it shouldn't be the last. Be flexible and don't set solutions in stone.
Test your design with real users, repeatedly
Quickly build a prototype of your design and take it out to test with real users. Watch them use it and listen carefully to their feedback. Ensure as many team members as possible from your project are interacting with users in this way. Collectively reflect on what you learn and improve the design accordingly. Repeat.
Define criteria for "well designed"
Determine what metrics will be used to gauge the success of your design before it can go live. These can include user satisfaction poll results, success rates in completing tasks, or any other measurement that tells you how well your design is meeting user needs. Collectively identify a quantitative target and iterate on your design until you reach your goal.