Defining My Value(s) as a UX Designer

Stop and think, then think systematically.

The Big Picture—a preface

When first prompted to examine what my “design manifesto” might look like, my first thought was quite crass: UX the F*** out of Everything. “UX” was a verb. “Everything” was an absolute that transcends material or sensory platforms. Or platforms.

Drawing from personal experience, I catalogued several nontraditional contexts to which I actively applied aspects of UX Design Thinking as a way of strategically navigating an organizationally complex few years of my life.

It was a 15-minute writing exercise that makes little sense in hindsight. And so off-brand, since I prefer to pre-plan even the most stream-of-consciousness of my writing. If it exceeds 140 characters—or however long a tweet can be these days—even a Buzzfeed list-level scaffolding will suffice to help me evade blank canvas syndrome.

Now that I’ve outlined and allocated an additional twenty minutes to reexamine the personal values I wish to embody as an experience designer and strategist, I’d like to share these values—they’re high-level goals, really:

#1 Stop and Think…

Strategy is everything. Step away from a screen and go analog. Take a moment before answering questions. Take a moment before asking questions. Are you asking the right questions?

#2 …then Think Systematically.

During the design phase, employ Atomic Design. Reflect upon design definitions—beyond visual components—at the earliest possible moment. Strive for consistency in tone and workflow and process.

#3 “Design” is an Action.

Don’t forget to grow. Remember your methods were made by people. As a designer, you are free to design your own frameworks. Design changes. Design change.

#4 Production ≠ Productivity.

Think about how your process impacts long-term strategy, whether it’s your organization’s strategy or your own. Strive to grind without burnout.

#5 Validate ASAP.

You can ideate while you research. You can research while you design. You can uproot your entire UX education and step into the user’s shoes when you choose. But test as quickly as you can. Arrive at a a prototype before you commit.

#6 Advocate for Human Happiness.

Remember that users are people. We don’t design for machines. We don’t design for money. We design for people who are overwhelmed, not only by obstacles of our world, but also by the outputs of our processes.

#7 Thank.

Credit your collaborators. Thank your errors. Acknowledge your clients. Ponder the sizes of teams against the scales of products. Be grateful for the chance to create. Not everyone can share in such an opportunity.

[timeboxed for 35 minutes]