Setting soft-skill goals and giving feedback during 1:1s has become clearer with a shared understanding of the loop. Synthesis and communication are often the largest opportunities for improvement—especially in less experienced designers—so having a shared language to discuss this through with them has resulted in significant progress in these areas across the board.
From that experience, I learned that sometimes outwardly boring projects — anything business or ads related, free from the shiny aesthetic of consumer-facing experiences — are often the absolute best projects to work on and learn from.
…derstanding people — and not just the people you’re designing for (though that’s critical as well). Often the User Experience designer is sitting in center of the conversation, navigating the challenges faced by business requirements, conflicting users needs, technical limitations, and design opportunities. Marrying all of these into a single product means gaining as much of an understanding of all sides as possible, and then communicating effectively, fairly, and clearly to all team members. And that is before the pen ever hits the paper.
Process is not a deliverable
A lot of courses teach processes and formulas. But every project is different — different timelines, budgets, and goals. Not to mention the different personalities you’ll deal with, and the challenge of navigating clients and stakeholders who often times want to be very hands on. Therefore, the process constantly needs to be tailored to each project. Being able to tailor your process requires confidence that only comes from experience.