Note: This is bad form.

UX vs. Weightlifting: Good Form

Content under pressure

As someone who practices UX and the act of picking up heavy things, then putting them back down, I’ve noticed that there are a couple of unexpected commonalities between the two disciplines. I thought I’d cover some of these in a series exploring the overlaps between the world of exhausted grunting and the world of, well, exhausted grunting.

The cost of pushing limits

In both UX and lifting, the practitioner is often faced with the need to regularly push limits, assume you’re doing it right. Whether we’re taking on demanding client crunches, challenging ourselves to design a MVP in 3 hours, or trying to push 200 on bench presses, part of what makes anyone good in these two fields is the willingness to push yourself forward.

However, from personal experience and from talking to others, our motivations and drive often create an immense amount of pressure with a significant cost: good form. We all learn about the right way to do things: Arched back, sketching first, tightened core, test your assumptions. But under increased pressure, be it from iron or tight deadlines, our knowledge becomes drowned out by instinct: our forms crack, we go straight to hi-def wireframes, leverage the wrong muscles, what user testing? We do anything we can to make sure what needs to be done is done.

If we’re lucky, we’ll have a solid partner or team to remind you to stick to good processes. But when we’re not fortunate enough to have that, we have to constantly ask ourselves whether or not taking that shortcut is worth it to accomplish your goals. Make no mistake, sometimes we need to resort to bad form to make deadlines or hit that personal record. But that’s a dangerous gateway to letting your discipline go the next time, and the time after that, and the time after that. Is it worth it?

Here’s to breaking new grounds, ever so thoughtfully.