Guest Blogpost by Nisa Andrews
UX is mostly intangible. Sure, there are “deliverables” such as wireframes or site maps or user stories, but it’s more. UX is very much instilled in the behavior, cultures, attitudes of the designer, which is then translated into a design solution. It’s a cross between problem solving, creativity, business, and empathy. Here’s what I’ve learned so far from my experience in the UX world.
1. Get Your Ideas Out Of Your Brain.
Your ideas are only assumptions and they will likely change. You can debate for hours on what you think a user should see after they tap on something, but you must put that idea on paper or a whiteboard and out of the building to test. Feedback from testing is important because your design is useless if it doesn’t solve a legit, research-proven user need.
2. Listen And Have A POV.
By listening to your team first, you’ll get along with people better and form a bond of respect and you’ll probably solve problems faster. Also, you were hired for your opinions, knowledge, and background experience, so don’t forget to express your POV.
3. Build Camaraderie With Your Team.
Ask a coworker you work with but don’t know very well out for coffee or tea. Not saying you should become BFFs, but you should try to forge a healthy working relationship within the confines of work, at least. Share stories. Have fun. It helps communication flow and keeps things light.
4. Be A Part Of Your Team.
A great designer does not call themselves a rockstar or guru – those kind of people want to own the spotlight. It’s not about who is right or wrong or who gets credit, you’re here to solve a problem and do it well.
You’re in it with your team. Be brave enough to share whatever idea is on your mind, with trust in your team that they’ll build off that idea or decide it won’t work. Remind yourself to stay open to greater ideas than your own. The more cross-functional your team, the better your collaboration – you’ll get to look at the solution through different lenses.
6. Be The User.
Go beyond analyzing people’s experiences. Make them your own. Put yourself in your users shoes. Real empathy starts with people and without putting yourself in a user’s shoes, you won’t be able to truly understand. So go outside and get your hands dirty.
7. Think About Your User’s Motivations.
Think about why users come to your site. Do they have a problem? What are their needs? Don’t focus on the solution, but ask yourself what the best experience is for that problem. You know your company well and what it offers, how can you help your users succeed?
8. Be Curious.
Never striving to learn continuously or go beyond your boundaries are behaviors rooted out of fear. Best practices are not set in stone, so be comfortable with exploring unchartered territory if it could produce a better product.
9. Have Patience.
Stuck on a problem? Give yourself a break. Sleep on that idea you had over lunch. Explain the problem to someone unrelated, you may come to understand the problem better which can be beneficial for ideation.
10. For Science.
A lot of design principles and methods are rooted in how humans react to things and what motivates them. There are lots of sciences that are beneficial, but a good start would be to study cognitive load, mental models, and decision making. By understanding these, you could impart that knowledge in your designs to make a great solution.
Nisa Andrews is a UX/UI Designer based in SF and LA. She creates experiences digitally and in real life. She has worked with brands such as Trulia, HP Enterprise, T-Mobile, Honda, and several startups in CA.