If only I could go back in time and share these tips with my younger self… I believe they would have significantly accelerated my career as a designer. Young adepts of UX & UI design, read on!
Here are the eight key rules that have led me to a successful career in UX and UI design, contributing to digital products for leading brands across various industries.
Design products and solutions as if you were working to develop a new type of medicine. If the medical treatment you came up with wasn’t effective at helping people, you wouldn’t get annoyed with its users but rather strive to improve your work.
Similarly, designers should avoid blaming others if their design is not well-received, as our ultimate goal is to provide solutions to users' problems and challenges.
Remember, you are not defined by your design, and your design does not define you. Stay humble in your work , as you'll often find that your assumptions are incorrect and users may behave differently than expected.
Challenge your own ideas and frequently pretend you don’t agree with your own self . Digging deeper is a fundamental skill that many designers tend to overlook.
Dissect your designs by asking critical questions: How strongly do you believe a particular pattern, screen, button, or copy is the right choice? Would you be able to give an honest, well-thought-out answer if someone asked, "Have you considered any alternatives? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this design?"
If your design requires the developer to spend a lot of time on it, ask yourself if it makes business sense to burn through significantly more cash to code a solution that may have a negligible impact on user experience.
It’s so easy to overthink problems and design abstract or overly complex patterns. You may come across beautiful ideas on Dribbble or Behance and feel excited about recreating them in your project, but in the end, making it happen may not be worth it when you take into account your colleagues’ time. Ask yourself how a developer might react upon seeing your design, and you’ll make your collaboration on the project much easier.
Talking to other stakeholders is a major part of working as a designer. End users, customers, client representatives, as well as your team members: mainly developers and other designers.
How you communicate ideas and relate to people can make or break your career advancement. Make an active effort to improve this skill just like you might work on your driving or swimming skills.
One of the keys to success as a designer is not being afraid to talk to new people. It’s not just about getting to know your users, either. If I hadn’t said “Hi” to a few people in my life, I’d probably never have gotten to where I am right now.
Copyright laws, taxes, employment contracts… They might be confusing to beginner designers, but they exist for a reason.
Have you ever used an icon that you found on a random website without doing your due diligence on checking its licensing conditions?
If you use other peoples' work in your projects without ensuring that your actions are legal, you might cause yourself and your clients lots of problems. Trust me, it’s not worth getting sued, having to pay a fine, or getting told off by your superiors.
I recommend reading up on copyright and intellectual property laws before you do any serious design work, especially for a paying client. Depending on the type of contract you plan to use as an employee or independent contractor, you should also make sure that you understand your tax situation.
I follow a simple yet powerful rule: my design is not done until someone else has seen and used it . Don’t be shy, ask friends or colleagues to take a look at your prototypes and ask for their opinion. Testing is the design process stage that will show you where and how you went wrong with your assumptions.
You might like it or not, but UX designers need to talk to people . Otherwise, we’d have no way of finding out what our users need – and keep in mind that just asking is often not enough, as they may not even know it themselves.
Knowing how to organize teamwork sessions is another crucial communication skill that will let your designs become even better. An important tip is to pay close attention to group dynamics and make sure to give space to all participants.
Introverted team members may have great insights but find it hard to bring them forward during chaotic brainstorming sessions. As a workshop facilitator, it’s your job to control the flow and empower all participants to express their ideas.
If design is your dream career, or if you’re already working as a designer, you probably have some artistic inclinations. That is great, but you need to remember that commercial projects are ultimately about meeting clients’ business goals , not just making something look pretty or unique.
Digital products should be useful and convenient, and make users’ lives easier. If you have the time, it’s a nice idea to polish splash screens and animations, but make sure to first focus on the app’s main features and overall usability .