Join Drew Bridewell for an in-depth discussion in this video 5 tips to improve your user experience design skills, part of Practical UX Weekly.
- The role of a User Experience Designer is evolving daily, and the skills required keep expanding. A designer is required to wear multiple hats which include skills of a product strategist, a user researcher, a visual designer, an interaction designer, and the list goes on and on. In this week's video, I want to focus on five tips to improve your user experience design skills today. Tip number one do your research. This is the information you gather before you start coming up with solutions. A good place to start is researching what your competitors are doing.
This gives you a broader prospective of the domain you're working in. It also gives you an understanding of their business models and how they might or might not be effective. This also helps you make sure you're not duplicating competitors exact features. Look into recent failures in competitors and try to learn more about those. You can also investigate similar industries that have relatable solutions. I provided a research checklist that you can use to help you get started for your next project.
Designers can get super busy and often want to bypass research altogether and just want to jump right into screen design. Try not to let this happen to you. I've experienced far better results from not skipping a step. Try and take the extra time digesting and immersing yourself into your new topic area. Try to empathize with your audience about the problem you're trying to solve, and talk to actual learners about the struggles they have. During your research, can also help you generate more solutions and have a broader prospective of the domain you're working in.
It has saved me hours of design time and has saved me from having to reinvent the wheel over and over again. Research helps you become the domain expert, so you can have better conversations about your project. Research can help start your project off on the right foot, but remember to follow your instincts and explore new original solutions based on what you learn. Tip number two carny a sketchbook and your favorite pencil or pen with you. I often hear designers say they can not sketch very well. Well, I've got news for everyone, not everybody is as amazing Von Glitschka and that's okay.
I don't believe you have to be an illustrator to get your ideas sketched out. The most important thing I've captured over the years is to have a sketchbook and a pencil with you. I do have my favorite tools, and I'm sure you do too. I'll be sharing my favorites on our Practical UX LinkedIn group. I would love to see yours as well. You never know when an idea will just pop into your head but now you'll be prepared to take that note or create that sketch. The amazing thing about this is you'll get better and better the more you practice.
It will also help you when you need to go back to your computer or pitch a new idea later in the day. You'll be more prepared to execute or show your team your idea, so you can get it in the next planning session. Some examples of things you'll find in my sketchbook range from lists and sketches of new possible solutions to sketching out meeting notes or even sketching out my high level tasks for the day. Inspiration can happen anytime. This is the reason having a pencil and a pen in your pocket can give you the upper hand, so you never miss documenting an idea.
Have fun with this. Tip number three use a grid. The easiest way to make your designs look more uniformed and delightful is to make sure your content, typography, elements on the page, have some form of alignment to a grid. When content is floating around you can immediately see it from a mile away. As UX designers, we want to have visual hierarchy and flow in our designs. If you're breaking in a grid for spontaneous reasons that's totally cool, but make sure you have a good reason while checking the flow of the content.
Having a grid is a quick way to polish up your pages and help them shine. One pro tip I use daily is I have to set quick keys and sketch for all of my alignment tools. I do this in all my programs because I constantly am aligning things, and I prefer to not waste time having to navigate to the actions menu over and over. Tip number four show your work. With the pace that we all can move into today's software, there is no reason why we shouldn't share our designs daily or every other day. Show it to your teammates, your spouse, or even your six year old.
This can help you get used to talking about your work and gathering feedback. Our designs our just things. They are not who we are. If you get feedback that doesn't make you feel good then, remember that they're not judging you. They're judging the design. Show your work early and often, and you and your team will reap the benefits. One benefit of doing this is you'll discover problems way faster. You'll find that your team will respect you more because you value their input. Tip number five understand your members and or your users.
This goes beyond doing your typical research on every project. This is making it a habit to get to know and understand the people who use your product. You can get to know your users better by setting up reoccurring visits to your office and conducting user feedback sessions with them. If you don't have the ability to do that right away, then consider putting a feedback link on your website. You can easily link out to an external web form service like Wufu or Survey Monkey and you can also reach out to friends, family, and your work peers.
Then you can collect ongoing feedback about what you're users think about your product. This helps you have a trail of understanding and empathizing with your users which can help you succeed because you'll be the voice of your users while solving the right problems. This will make everything you do have more meaning and purpose. You'll develop a higher level of empathy for your customers and be able to always bring their perspective to the table. You are the shining star that can bring the light and power to your members. All you have to do is listen and ask questions.
They'll tell you what you need to improve your product. Now these five tips that I discussed are my top five. I'd love for you to share your top UX tips on our Practical UX LinkedIn group. This will help our UX community benefit and learn from other professionals in the field.
To continue the conversation started in this course, with Drew and other user experience professionals, join Drew's Practical UX: Lessons from the Trenches LinkedIn group.
Skill Level Intermediate
Q. Where can I ask the author questions about practical UX?
A. To continue the conversation started in Practical UX Weekly with Drew and other user experience professionals, join the LinkedIn group at https://www.linkedin.com/