Do you have an “eye for design”?
What UX bootcamps and certificates don’t teach you, a busy simulator, a day in the life of a UX designer, and more!
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Short answer: everyone can adopt the design mindset.
Can everyone be a UX designer?
Becoming a designer is possible for anyone with a creative mindset who loves problem-solving. In other words, UX design is not just about aesthetics and making things “look nice”.
Last week during a grooming meeting with our project manager and developers, I had put in a Jira ticket for our navigation menu to be reordered. Instead of being ‘Feed, Appointments, Tasks, SMS’, I wanted the menu to be ‘Feed, SMS, Appointments, Tasks’.
Before adding story points, a dev asked me why I wanted to reorder the list — “was it just cuz or?” My response was that from a series of customer calls, I learned that our clients will navigate first through the feed before proceeding to SMS messages and then appointments. By reorganizing the list, it was to match the order of importance for our users.
Had my response been “because it looks better,” the devs would have challenged my request because we’re on a tight completion timeline. The aesthetics of the product is not the MVP for our team right now because it would not add value to why we were making the change.
UX is so much more than making pretty UI. It’s a lot of collaboration and decision-making. For a refresher on skills that go beyond traditional design, read The Most Important Soft Skills for UX Jobs.
“That’s the funny part about content creation. Once you’ve released it, you don’t know where it’s going to land.”
Designers, if you’re looking to establish a brand for yourself or create content for your products that stick, make it friendly and relatable. It’s very unpredictable how the public reacts to certain content but if it speaks a shared experience or draws in similar emotions, it’s most likely to make a better impression. At the same time, know that not all of your efforts will go viral or have a ton of views. It just takes the right one to gain an audience.
These are 7 soft skills that UX bootcamps and certificates don’t have time to teach:
- Critical thinking
- Time management
- Becoming a good researcher/interviewer
- Communication skills
- Empathizing and understanding people for who they are
- Writing skills
- Selling UX
And, I agree. As great as UX bootcamps are to learn the concept and tools, I think there isn’t enough time to ask questions and practice UX. I think that for you to become a UX designer, you need to practice talking to users and experience cross-collaboration. There’s a ton of conversations going on when you’re working on a real product, despite the fact that it may seem like you’re doing research, ideating, designing, prototyping, and iterating alone.
If you’d like to give yourself some anxiety, try out this busy simulator with hypothetical dinging sounds from your various communication notifications… This is the modern-day “phone ringing off the hook”.
“There is no such thing as a boring project. There are only boring executions.”
- Irene Etzkorn, Chief Clarity Officer
Aliena Cai scripts a day in the life of a UX designer when things don’t quite go as planned. Let’s be real beginners — UX is not always rainbows and butterflies!
“Simplicity is achieved when everyone can easily understand and use the design, regardless of experience, literacy, or concentration level.”
The Rule of Thirds, the 80/20 Rule, the Golden Ratio, Occam’s Razor and so many more great rules of design you might already know but don’t actively apply in design. This book is an easy-to-read reference (available in pocketbook form too!) filled with descriptions and illustrated examples for you more actively apply those design principles.
TIL that you can create heading styles to include in your Design System — I’ve been just copying my established “heading” styles and reusing them but now I know I can organize them as I do with components. This is helpful for the handoff process with developers too!
[DESIGN CASE STUDY SPOTLIGHT]
Designer: Marina Yalanska and Vlad Taran
Case Study: Perfect Recipes
This app combines the functionality for cooking and buying what’s needed for a user’s next meal.
Why this case study is awesome:
- Great visuals of notable features (videos that demo the actions)
- MVP elements highlighted in the User Interface Design section
This UX case study is an awesome example of what it might look like to take a personal pain point you have and turn it into an idea for an app. As a user, you can take your experiences into consideration when putting together a case study. I love the layout of this case study — it flows nicely through the problem and progresses into the solutions. I enjoy being able to watch the videos of the app interactions because, in my portfolio, I link to Figma which takes the viewer to an external page and away from my site.
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