Ignore this text
[Hola!, lee la versión en español de este artículo.]
Yeah, just ignore it. I’m sure you have better things to do than read it. Plus, you’ll have content that’s been on hold for days or weeks that you never havetime for.
Nowadays selecting the content is a pain in the ass. Many times you will find that it takes up your time and attention, when the benefit is nil.
How to filter and make the most of it?
I’ll tell you how I do it.
Conceptually I have an intuitive structure (it can be a pyramid) on my vital-professional path. This helps me focus.
It basically consists of 3 parts.
1 Basis: main project
I tend to dedicate little time to the contents that go to the base of the structure, since it can usually be an small update or some new detail. If I notice that I have deficiencies in that part it is because I need to be seriously trained. Basically because I don’t do my job with the quality I need.
· Function: is the one that feeds me
· Knowledge: high
· Tasks: do not change substantially, repeat 80% of the time
· Motivation: medium-low
· Effort: low
· Time: high
· Failure impact: high, you lose your main source of income
· Example: UX UI designer
2 Trunk: secondary project or Robin Hood
I dedicate more effort to the trunk, because that’s why I bet that in the medium term it can change my life. I call it Robin Hood because I usually take from the main project (rich) and give it to him (poor).
It is the area where I may have shortcomings and where these are key to the successful development of the project. Motivation is changing, it requires discipline.
Function: the one I want to be the main one in the medium term
Tasks: apply your knowledge to a new area or perform unfamiliar functions
Time: when you have free time
Failure impact: medium, you lose time and money, but it’s bearable
Example: specialize in immersive VR and AR technologies
3 Peak: free project
The peak of the pyramid are those things that you do for pleasure, that don’t cost you any effort and that you don’t expect to be the sustenance of your life. It can range from writing, teaching, organizing events or helping an NGO to being an expert on World War II submarines.
It’s a key part of not getting burned, because it gives you a lot of satisfaction. Although you would like to dedicate 100% of your time to it, it is not profitable for you (for now) and you don’t consider it either. It’s also what makes you unique.
Function: something you do for pleasure
Effort: low, you do it because you like it
Failure impact: none
Example: yoga and meditation, India, experimental workshops…
Once I have defined this structure I begin to filter based on the following points.
Edgar Dale’s Learning Model
Edgar Dale (1900–1985) was an American pedagogue who developed an intuitive model to explain how different learning formats impact the percentage of what we remember.
What the pyramid explains to us is that what we passively consume, such as reading, we quickly forget. On the contrary, if we practice and teach it, we retain most of this knowledge.
So in my case, I ignore 90% of the texts (in my case of UX) that are not related to a problem that I have to solve at the same time.
Example: Get started in motion design with this 9 steps
A really interesting thing for my profession. Surely it comes with example animations and interesting tips that I don’t know about. But am I going to be able to put it into practice in my work? Am I doing some animation or micro animations on a particular project right now? If the answer is no, I ignore this content.
When I have to do animations and need to know the best practices I will actively look for it. Which brings me to my next point.
Many times we save content for later because we feel that we lack knowledge in certain areas. Authors sometimes play with it in their titles. Especially if it’s an apparent novelty in the profession.
Example: Designing Design Systems for complex products
New buzzword “Design Systems” and oh! “complex products” (sounds important). Design systems are apparently new to the profession. But like so many other things, they are a buzzword, which adds little or nothing to something you already know.
They arise because they are not focused on the designer community, but on students, business-company or other areas. So it won’t bring you anything new, well yes, you will learn to defend and sell your work better.
So when I see a text on a subject that tries to teach me something, I think that if I want to read it, it’s because I have a lack of training. If you frequently need to read such texts, consider training in this area.
There are times when it is true that it is something new: virtual reality, augmented reality, blockchain…. If you think it has a future (the trunk of your pyramid), you can buy a specific book or search for an online or face-to-face course if you need something more guided. It will be much more beneficial and solid than the 4 ideas you can save with the pins of a blog text.
Don’t lose focus
The design world is very wide. Research, architecture, interaction…. It is also related and intermingled with disciplines such as art, psychology, development, sales… To this we can add innovations and novelties: new programs, new technologies.
Example: Voice User Interface Design. New Solutions to Old Problems
I still remember when a year ago I thought that conversation interfaces were going to be the revolution. An interface with hardly any elements…. artificial intelligence boosted the hype. But most of the things that were done related to VUI did not go beyond chats with a logic similar to the text adventures of the 1980s.
But beware! the voice interfaces are coming, with their challenges and benefits… Alexa, Cortana, Google, Siri… The voice is the interface, it is more accessible, the technology is not yet accurate or yes… Should it be part of my trunk? You never know, design is an act of faith.
What I mean is that you will always have the feeling (and certainty) of ignoring something. And that’s okay.
If you have a good foundation and focus on it it will be much easier to adapt to the new. Your potential lies in applying your knowledge to know the needs and emotions of the human being and connect them with technology. There are techniques that will change very little or simply adapt to a new environment.
Focus better on those aspects that are the foundation of your trade, such as interaction design. Those things you’ll always do with different variations until you retire. The root of the human being changes very little. Designers continue to apply the knowledge of Bauhaus or Gestalt today to design websites and applications. They’re what, 100 years old already?
Or you may suffer trying to defend your project when you have to do it in English because you don’t have the same fluency. So unless you’re a technical trainer, it might be more rewarding to polish your English over the weekend than to learn how Invision studio’s beta works.
If, on the other hand, it’s something really new that you’d like to experiment with, consider what part of your structure you’re targeting and filtering based on the above points.
You have to be flexible. Today the content is very rich with videos, images, data and real cases. Fortunately, the authors are working on it. Which will cause you to withhold a little more information.
In the end, sharing, debating and practicing is the most effective way to grow knowledge. Especially if you do it in areas that are not directly related to yours.
Finally, I hope this text will at least help you to know if you should have ignored it.