“Learning is experience. Everything else is just information.” ― Albert Einstein
I read a lot about UX before getting my first UX Designer job, I was asking about UX advice from experts and, I was very interested in UX and it’s practice and how designers think and solve users’ problems using logical thinking and creative thinking together.
I was very interested to start my work as a UX Designer, work with other designers and apply all my readings and knowledge in the real world.
After 3 years as a UX Designer which I consider a little experience, I would like to share with you some UX advice I have learned during this small period of time. This lessons will be helpful for anyone wants to enter the UX field.
8 UX Advice
1- Don’t call yourself a UX Designer until you do a real work
Before getting my first job, I read a lot about UX and I have done some assignments from courses I have joined. I thought I know a lot about UX and it’s easy to apply all of these in the real world.
But the reality is different, it’s more than just applying a UX process that will guarantee your success. You will deal with many factors like business stakeholders, time, budget and conflicting points of view, you will deal with complex problems that require more than just applying some UX methods and processes.
2- You will never understand the problem until you listen to your users
I have worked on some projects which were for me very obvious and straightforward, but later on, after meeting real users, observing them and asking them the right questions, I discovered that the problem I was working on wasn’t the user’s real problem.
Sometimes you will have to work without meeting real users and your managers will refuse meeting users for budgeting reasons. As Jaime Levy advice in her book UX Strategy: How to Devise Innovative Digital Products that People Want, you can do some research on your own, you can search for real users and do minimum research to understand your users.
So, you have to listen to users anyway or find a way to know more about them as UX without users is not a UX.
3- Don’t go with your first solution
Our brain is lazy and tends to work with the least amount of effort, so the first solution is always the easiest one for our brain and we don’t think a lot and push ourselves to generate creative ideas when we think about the first solution.
Creativity is about generating a lot of ideas and solutions, so you need to push yourself and think about different ideas and solutions rather than implementing your first solution.
4- Don’t aim for perfection
If you aim for perfection, you will never launch anything.
Although the perfect solution is a great idea in the real world there is nothing perfect, everything in this world is missing something. Instead of aiming for perfection, set goals and try to achieve it.
Adapting an iterative design approach will let you always build something, test it and then improve it which is better than aiming for perfection.
5- UX is not about design only
As a UX Designer, your job is not about designing only, you have to read and learn about different other fields and acquire different skills, your daily routine is not about sitting on your laptop, designing interfaces and delivering them.
Your job is about communicating, meeting clients, negotiating, presenting solutions and working with different stakeholders. As Mike Monterio said in his book Design Is A Job:
A designer who does not present his or her own work is not a designer. Presenting the work, explaining the rationale, answering questions, and eliciting feedback are part of the design toolkit. If you sit at your desk while someone else presents work to the client, you don’t get to complain about the feedback. The failure was yours.
6- No one is right
At first and after my first job, I was attached to the UX process and methods we were using and I thought it was the right way to do UX. But after I worked with different teams and people I realized that my process wasn’t the perfect one neither the new one.
What makes a good UX Designer is his ability to listen to the different perspective and his flexibility to try and adapt to new methods and ways of thinking.
In Design field, there is no right process or right perspective. All of these are best practices and models only.
7- You can’t work alone
As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life. —Amy Poehler
As a UX Designer, you are forced to work with other team members: designers, developers, and business roles. UX is not about working alone thinking about a solution with a cup of coffee in an isolated room.
You need to develop your teamwork skills and enjoy working with others. Working with others has many benefits like generating more ideas, getting different perspectives and bridging the gap between designers and other roles.
8- Don’t focus on deliverables
“Our goal is not to create a deliverable, it’s to change something in the world to create an outcome.” – Lean UX: Designing Great Products with Agile Teams
Deliverables are important and essential for the UX success but they should be your only focus. Your goal is to create something meaningful and useful for your users and UX deliverables are a tool that helps you in achieving this goal.
Finally, this UX advice list is a small amount of what I have learned during my journey as a UX Designer. Try to apply these advice and share any UX advice or lesson you have learned during your UX Design journey.