- When it comes to being a user experience designer in today's world, it's inevitable that some things are going to go great and some things are going to be huge failures. But one can learn from both wins and failures. In this episode I'll share how I document my story and work along the way, as well as insights that you can have from adding this to your weekly workflow. You wake up, design, then go to bed. Then design some more in your sleep. Then you wake up and six months have passed and you ship one fully responsive redesign that had hundreds of designs, states, flows, and assets.
But there's one problem: not the fact that you absolutely nailed it, but the fact that you can't remember all the wins and failures because you're ready to work on the next task. We often can learn just as much from our failures as we can our wins. The magical thing is both wins and failures have benefits. Celebrating a win and passing the knowledge onward has larger organizational benefits. When you remembered the three to four wins but forgot the 30 small wins, it doesn't capture the fact that overall you crushed it.
Those 30 small wins added up make a huge difference so don't let them disappear. Write them down, take screenshots, and save the learnings. You might also be a little fuzzy around all those moments where the design just failed. Yes, failures are major bummers. However understand the context of why we fail is a learning that we can grow with for years to come. It helps us try new things and not repeat history. It allows us to pass on lessons to the next group or individual and it also helps us understand the state and trend of the product or market during the time of conception.
It's pretty cool when you think about it. For me the easiest way to quickly save my design history is to use Keynote. I often use Keynote for my slide dex. But if you only have Microsoft PowerPoint, that could work just fine too. If you're looking for a free web tool you can use Google Slides but I much prefer a local app for this deliverable so I don't have to depend on wifi to add screenshots or designs to my deck. I'll answer the following items when I document. When this design shipped, what impact did it have on the product.
What was the biggest learning lesson from the win or failure. What would I have done differently and how would I have improved the experience. Let me share a few more reasons why adding this documentation to your process can help you in the long run. This documentation not only helps you recall how you did things in the past, but it helps you prepare for your annual reviews. This takes out all the stress of trying to remember everything you have accomplished in the last year. It gives you a sense of how much effort you put into your career and it should give you a sense of accomplishment.
It's a win win. Documenting this work also helps if you decide that it's time for you to move onto your next play. You'll need to be able to paint a picture to your potential new employers of what you're capable of. Even if you can't show your work because of an NDA it can still help you prepare. So when it comes down to the documentation, keep it lightweight, fast, and do it in the moment. If you'd like to continue the conversation or have more questions about documenting along the way, then I'd love to discuss them with you.
Find me on Instagram at A Bridewell. Tweet at me A Bridewell, or you can post a question on our Practical UX Weekly LinkedIn group. Thanks for watching and I'll see you next time.
To continue the conversation with Drew and other user experience professionals, join Drew's Practical UX: Lessons from the Trenches LinkedIn group.
Make sure to check out the 2019 version of Practical UX Weekly for more tips and tricks.
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