Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

I’ve been fortunate to have worked with some great leaders. Their mentorship and guidance have been very instrumental in my growth both professionally and personally. Through my interactions with these people, I have observed certain qualities and behaviors that sets them apart from the others and make them the influential leaders that they are.

  • They’re always peaceful, pensive and very relaxed. There is very little agitation or urgency in their demeanor.
  • They have an air of confidence and humility (and not overconfidence or arrogance) around them.
  • Their speech is calm, calculated, articulate and direct. There is little fluff and ambiguity.

A friend who is trying to get into UX was asking me about some of the beginner mindset to become a UX Designer. Having gone through the beginner phase (I think because at times I still feel like a beginner), here are some of my learnings on how to develop and nurture the beginner mindset and get started in UX.

Find Something You Enjoy Doing

An Evolution

My design process has been constantly evolving ever since I started working on my start-up in 2015. When I first started, my design lexicon was limited to designing website screens on photoshop. In my mind, I was designing for a desktop, but I had no idea if what I was designing translated well to a desktop (It didn’t). Over the course of 3 years, I traveled half-way across the world, worked with some incredibly smart people, at some great organizations and as a consequence, my design process has undergone a world of change.

One of the first screens I had designed for Eventosaur in March 2015. I cringe a bit when I see it now, but I’m also proud of it.

Thinking Beyond The Design Tools

As I worked with different teams, on…

Image credit: Nik MacMillan

User interviews are one of the most common and accessible forms of user research methods. Interviews, when done right, reveal fascinating insights about people’s behavior, their motivations, fears, needs and desires. However, it takes a lot of careful planning and execution to ensure the information we get are consistent and remain ‘pure’. There are many things that can go wrong while doing user interviews. Here are some of the things that can be of help to avoid the errors that can otherwise corrupt or compromise the research data.

1. Talk to the right people

The kind of data we get depends on the kinds of people…

I love how Lyft has simplified my daily commute and changed my intra-city travel behavior. Last week while I requested for a ride and waited for the car to show up, my designer instinct kicked in and I started wondering how the app was designed the way it was designed and what other solutions, flows or patterns could the design team have explored before settling on what we see right now. This made me curious and I spent a rainy Seattle weekend exploring alternative ways of interacting with the app.

Before I begin, we must know that there is a…

As designers we spend an incredible amount of time thinking about how we can create an amazing interaction or the most beautiful interface for our application. At least I did. But my whole understanding of product design changed yesterday when I read something in Alan Cooper’s ‘About Face’.

“… the ultimate user interface can often be no interface.”

At first it seemed like a simple quote, but as I paused and thought about it, it was like (apologize the cliché) getting hit by a speeding train of realization. This realization was substantial.

Let’s think about this with a common scenario…

I am going to say something very controversial. You’re free to agree or disagree with me. These are my personal thoughts.

While I was working on some interesting ideas this evening, I realized something . It’s New year’s eve and I’m sitting in my room, working away and it’s surprisingly making me very happy. For a while I was confused. Why was I happy when I am working while I should be partying or spending time with people talking about how the year went? Have I become so lonely? Maybe I have, but that should have me sad. It didn’t…

There is something really interesting going on in the internet these days and the more I think about it, the more it makes me feel like I’m waking up in the middle of a roller coaster ride. It’s a ride for fun, but it’s scary to look down and it’s a ride which might never stop. Last week in my interaction design class, we had a very interesting discussion on the topic of personalization of web services that touched upon the most recent happenings in the US that got me thinking about how social media and the content we consume…

I’ve spoken about the importance of user research in a product development cycle in my previous blog. What comes after a solid user research is the phase of prototyping and testing, and these are just as critical as user research. Research, Prototyping and, Usability Testing form the salt and spices of a well balanced dish (yes, we care a lot about food). A dish can be cooked without salt or spice, but you won’t have too many people liking it. The story is very similar in the case of product development too. …

I always believe things happen in life for a reason. I’m studying master’s in Human Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington. As a graduate looking to get some experience and make some money, I applied for several positions to work as a Research Assistant on campus. I couldn’t make it, some due to lack of experience and some due to mismatch in role. Although I was upset, I never stopped looking and luckily I got a chance to work on a research project at the Department of Psychiatry as a User Researcher.

The objective of the project…

Setu Kathawate

User Experience Designer

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