Developing a UX Practice of Practicing

Jared M. Spool
UIE Brain Sparks
Published in
6 min readNov 11, 2014

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Major League Baseball’s highest-paid player, Alex Rodriguez, does the same thing every lesser-paid player does: he practices. He practices hitting the ball, throwing, catching, and fielding.

Alex plays more than 100 games during the regular season, yet he still finds time to practice. He knows he needs to stay at the top of his game. Practice is in his routine.

Major league players aren’t the only professionals that regularly practice. We’ve met musicians, firemen, pilots, and surgeons, all of who regularly practice their skills.

How could UX professionals practice? How would we constantly hone our skills? We studied what these other professionals did to learn what we might borrow from their practice of practicing.

A Side Project is not Practice, It’s Work

We noticed something right away: Practice activities only vaguely look like work activities.

When we asked UX professionals about practicing, many said, “Sure, I do regular side projects for friends or non-profits.” Side projects are a good thing, but we don’t think it is practice. Because the friend or charity depends on a quality results at the end, the side project resembles work very closely.

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Jared M. Spool
UIE Brain Sparks

Maker of Awesomeness at Center Centre - UIE. Helping designers everywhere help their organizations deliver well-designed products and services.