Everyone is a UX Designer

Yes, this means you, too. While you may or may not know much about user experience design principles, you are using designs everyday that you created for yourself at some point in your life. In fact, you probably designed an experience today. You’ve been doing it for years, alongside companies like Apple, Disney, Google and IBM.

But don’t change your title on LinkedIn just yet. Let’s start with your kitchen first.

When you first moved in, you placed items like your coffee maker where you instinctively felt they belonged. Where they made sense to you. This was your first design based on your own knowledge and prior experience, and perhaps that’s still the way it is today, with no changes, because you became used to it over time and life was good.

Or, perhaps after a few days or weeks, you ended up moving your coffee maker to a more appropriate location, because you realized it wasn’t close enough to your coffee mugs. Or maybe you moved your coffee mugs closer to your coffee machine because you didn’t want to keep stepping on the cat’s tail as you stretched across the kitchen like a game of Twister.

In either case, you used your initial design, noticed what could be improved to make a better experience, and improved it based on feedback from using it. Improving a design based on user needs is at the heart of user experience design: learn, improve, rinse and repeat.

Think of the different designs you’ve created around your home or office that you use each day as part of a routine. The placement of your daily toiletry items. Items on your desk or in drawers. Various kitchen appliances. How your furniture is placed. Now ask yourself: Are they the most efficient designs? Do you have items around that you don’t use often mixed in with items you use very often? Do you find yourself going to different locations instead of one location? (And no, the “everything drawer” doesn’t count.)

In our hectic day-to-day lives, we expect things to be available to work when, where and how we need them to. And few of us take the time to step outside of the routine to provide ourselves the feedback we need to update our designs. Whether it’s as simple as grouping all of your iPhone messaging or social media apps into one folder to consolidate your badge icons, or as complex as planning a remodel to your home — take the time to learn from your current designs. You deserve the best experience.

Now, go design it.