My Take on the 100 Day UI Challenge
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit….It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions.” -Ira Glass
When I began my journey into the 100 Day UI Design Challenge, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. As I was doing my research, I encountered numerous designers mocking the prompt, saying that doing the challenge was futile. On the other hand, there was the opposing side who praised it, and some even claimed that it helped them get them jobs. I sifted through countless threads, behance portfolios, and dribble accounts, trying to decide if it was worth my time. In the end, partly due to my insatiable curiosity and desire to create, and partly getting because of getting inspired by that Ira Glass quote about improving by doing, I decided to do it.
I’m perfectly aware, however, that for a design to work, and be accepted as a plausible solution to a problem, it must be constantly tested and backed by rigorous research. I understood from the onset that when I did this challenge, it wouldn’t be a portfolio piece that I’d show when applying for UX or UI positions. As great as they were, the prompts were too vague for any real problem solving to occur. I’m a firm believer in learning by doing, though, and I wanted to learn (and apply) visual design principles and how to use Sketch. I also wanted to learn more about my own design style and preferences, which were still a unclear to me at that time (I am currently a year into learning about UX/UI design).
The Journey…So Far
Although I’m only 33 days into the challenge, I feel like I was able to learn a plethora of things, both good and bad. Here is a what I’ve learnt so far:
- I learned how to use sketch, and be comfortable enough with it that it is now the sole program I use at work whenever I build wireframes or mockups.
- I went from trying to copy designs, to thinking about every little detail and how it could help my users accomplish their goal (based off of the prompt’s short description of what users wanted).
- It improved my workflow, and it forced me to get more organized.
- It challenged me to dig deeper for each design.
- I was able to practice designing with different styles (monochrome, gradients, drop shadows, etc.)
- I developed my own taste, and discovered what my preferences were for colors, fonts, shapes, etc.
- There are good days, and bleh days that designers will go through, but you just have to power through it, and that eureka moment will eventually come.
Overall, even though I’m only 33 days in so far, I don’t regret starting it at all. Not only was I able to learn sketch, but I was able to implement it at work as well. In fact, just the other day I was able to mockup a redesign of our user dashboards in a span of a two days. I don’t think I would’ve been able to do so if I were using Photoshop.
Even though I’ve enjoyed my time doing the challenge, I recently started my bootcamp at DESIGNATION Labs, and I’ve been struggling to balance that workload with my hours at work so far. So I will probably have to table the challenge until I am able to devote more time to it because it is time consuming. That’s the one downside to the challenge. I do have every intention of finishing it, however, that is definitely a goal I have for this year.
Here are some of my favorite designs: