If you’re a designer looking to break into UX, here are the 5 things your case study should demonstrate.

a woman writing notes on a ux wireframe drawing
a woman writing notes on a ux wireframe drawing
Image from Unsplash

1. It should demonstrate design thinking and problem solving.

The number one mistake I see designers make is re-skinning popular apps or websites for their portfolios. This is a great way to practice your UI skills, but it doesn’t show that you’re capable of creating a good experience. Visuals are just one part of experience design, so don’t ignore the other part which is, according to Eric Reiss,

In order to practice this and demonstrate it, make sure you’re choosing a design problem to solve and not just an app to re-skin. Think about a problem that you care about and imagine ways it could be solved. Unpopular opinion: It doesn’t even have to involve an iphone screen!!! …

Wall with magazine prints and plants
Wall with magazine prints and plants

As creators, the most beneficial thing we can do for our business is just that — to create! But sometimes we get stuck. If you’re someone who often feels stuck, try using this article to identify your weaknesses, and then use your strengths to… uh… ‘unstick’ yourself? You get what I mean.

You may identify with more than one of these “types.” I know I do. But my hope is that you can apply little tidbits from each to your own process and mindset.

The Ideator

Ideators are always coming up with new ideas. …

Strengths you should know

women and laptop
women and laptop
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

UX is a fairly popular industry to get into these days, and as it grows in popularity, the field also becomes more competitive. There are tons of online courses and boot camps available, which is great! But it also makes it difficult for students to focus on the strengths they need to cultivate and puts more emphasis on the certificates and resume builders.

Whenever students ask me what they can do to get into UX, I always recommend honing your skills and strengths to help you stand out from the crowd.

Develop a Problem-Solving Mindset

The number one strength of a UX designer (and certainly the most cliché) is problem-solving. After all, you’re not just trying to make things pretty or create features just for the heck of it. Your job is to solve real problems using design. This is a skill that you can cultivate through practicing within design projects, but also throughout your daily life. …

By now, we’ve all heard the prediction that a post-COVID-19 world will bring more remote work flexibility and less business travel. I believe that, with these changes, will also come a huge mindset shift, both for companies and many creative professionals. It’s going to change how we work and the products we create — in many ways, for the better.

As designers, we’re trained to solve problems. Look around and you’ll see that COVID-19 has illuminated countless opportunities for problem solving. These opportunities have little to do with selling more products and a lot to do with empowering individuals to stay safe, healthy and happy. …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

This week we’re gonna tackle a tough question that I don’t really have the ~right~ answer to, but I wanted to share my take anyway. Have you ever found yourself working on a project where you can’t seem to align on the visual direction? Or where there are so many opinions you have trouble vetting them? Or where you know you’ve got a great visual concept but the client doesn’t get it? Let’s be real… we’ve all been there at least once before.


A comprehensive guide for your UX portfolio

Person typing on computer showing app design study
Person typing on computer showing app design study
Daniel Korpai on Unsplash

This month I’m coming to you with some UI/UX design portfolio tips thanks to a lovely Instagram friend who posed this question to me:

Dear Radha,

The most important thing to know is that showcasing your process is just as important as presenting the final product. Think of your portfolio as a series of project summaries and not just a gallery of your work. …

Speech bubbles overlapping: Working Together
Speech bubbles overlapping: Working Together

Collaboration is such an important skill to master as a designer. As much as we think of the stereotypical designer shutting out the world with their noise cancelling headphones and multiple monitors, that’s just not the reality a lot of the time. We never work completely alone on a project, so especially during a time like this when we can’t be in a room with our team, it’s so crucial that we’re intentional about how we collaborate.

I’m going to walk through a real freelance project of mine in order to illustrate these 6 tips. But if you’re not a freelance designer, don’t worry! These will still be helpful. …

Visual Q’s: June 2020

Sticky notes, clip board, magnifying glass, speech bubbles
Sticky notes, clip board, magnifying glass, speech bubbles

This month I’m going to be answering SUCH a good question that I think anyone trying to break into UX will find helpful. The biggest difference between being a graphic designer and a UI/UX designer for me has been the research bit. It’s such an important part of the UX process, but it can be difficult to learn when you’re not in a UX job or on a product design team!

If you don’t already know, Visual Q’s is a monthly advice column for designers.

Visual Q’s: May 2020

Image for post
Image for post

I’m super excited to be writing this as it’s the first official issue of Visual Q’s! If you don’t already know, this will be a monthly advice column for designers. If you join the newsletter, you’ll receive this before it goes out on Medium, and get some additional resources & inspiration!

In honor of graduation month, I’m answering a great Q from a recent-grad looking for her first design job.

Black & White design with text that reads: Design Vocab
Black & White design with text that reads: Design Vocab

As designers, many of us think we’re just visual creatures. But creating visuals is only half of the job. The other half is verbal communication — actually talking about design. Whether we’re showcasing our own work, giving or receiving critiques, pitching to a client, or trying to understand a brand’s visual language, it’s so important that we have the vocabulary to communicate effectively.

Lately, I’ve noticed the same words used to describe design over and over again, and I know I’m not the only one. There’s a running joke among designers about how clients always say “make it pop!”


Maddy Beard

UI/UX Designer | Creative Resident at Adobe

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