the Leap of Faith.
Life wasn’t easy, with my plunge into User Experience design. Design and usability always was a fascination so getting into the design team was ‘happy state’ and dream come true. But, coming from the world of number crunching and financial analysis and bids, finding yourself in the midst of uber talented graphic designers and digital artists who gave their creative best to world’s top brands. Whoa! that was a huge change, you probably need to transform into Bruce Wayne overnight, to stay afloat. There’s so much of content out there to read and getting the hang of jargon and tools to use ,was hugely overwhelming.
‘You fear what you don’t understand’
When you are in unchartered waters, you rediscover your survival skills from out of the blue. For someone who has never laid hands on a Mac machine or iOS or an iPhone or the least, Adobe Photoshop( sigh), the life ahead was an uphill climb. Yet, the fear of failure was scarier than the apprehensions in learning a new skill. You turn into your worst , merciless self critic, seeing yourself in poor light and trust me , sometimes you hit the rock bottom of self-esteem.
Slowly, things started falling into place, knowing where to look, whom to follow and what to put hands on. The Design of Everyday Things helped greatly in gaining perspective and foundation. Medium and UX Planet was the new Bible and Nick Babich the new Messiah. Design concepts seemed to make more sense now and hamburgers and kebabs found newer dimensions. Yet, the idea of learning to use a design tool seemed to elude. Interaction design was done on the life saver MS Power Point. So never did the need arise, to try out a new tool. Err, not until a week back.
You start off with a dream project of sorts, with the dream team, participate in brain storming, enjoy all the learning, contribute in ideation during wireframe exercise along with the senior interaction designer. And then the interaction designer goes on a week long holiday and you are marooned with deadlines, a Mac book in hand and a design tool called Sketch to learn(let’s not talk about mastering now. OK?). Is there a better time to wish for the invisibility cloak? Sigh.
It’s OK to be a late bloomer, as long as, you finally decide one day, to bloom. As it turned out, this one week was the best learning in so many years. It was a huge whiff of fresh air, away from the MS Office suite that was a constant companion for years. Moreover, all the design wizards with magic wands rushed to help with practical advice on Sketch, so there was always company to burn midnight oil.
I did survive the one week, unscathed. Deadlines were met, designs signed off and sent to development.
‘To conquer fear, you must become fear’.
The fear of failure was what held me back all through out. The fear of failing to meet expectations, the fear of being compared to the best, the fear of failing to catch up with the new tool and acquainting my fingers to the antics of iOS. But at some point, all fears and failure ceased to matter.
All that mattered was the happiness in learning something new. And the happiness of possibility. And rediscovering that part of me that could stretch the limits. ‘When you press the pause button on a machine, it stops. But when you press the pause button on human beings they start, to reflect, to rethink assumptions, to re-imagine what is possible’. Here’s something I learnt-
For the deepest plunge in the pool, you first need to get on the diving board and then take a huge leap of faith. Period.
Here’ some of the reading that helped immensely during the learning phase:
https://medium.com/sketch-app-sources/designing-an-ios-app-in-sketch-part-1-of-3-7541f4fca87 by Marc Andrew , author of ‘Discover Sketch App’
“Export Presets, Touch Bar, and More in Sketch 42” — Sketch talks about what’s new in 2017