It has been a very interesting journey working as a UX designer for me. I am loving it, and every day I am learning new things at work and outside of work. I am an engineer turned designer so when I reflect back how my journey has been so far, there are many things I can think of, that has changed in me personally. Here are the top 5 things that come to my mind.
Thinking about the “why” first
As a designer, it has really helped me asking “why” to anyone on the team, stakeholders or to the users. I joined my current company (Renaissance Learning) a few months ago and there is so much to learn about its products, the users, and about why some of the decisions were made the way they are right now. When it comes to interacting with users, asking this question helps in knowing their thought process. If a user is thinking something the way s/he is, there is some reason behind it — is her/his mental model different than what we are assuming? Is s/he expecting something else here? And so on..
As a designer, we are constantly communicating with product owners, product managers, developers and stakeholders. And at times, I have realized communicating the ideas clearly, succinctly and backing up with exemplars, research, and data makes the process easy. I am learning and practicing storytelling at my work. I was pleased one day, when I was doing a design review with a developer and he asked me, “why did you design it this way?” I loved it when he asked and I shared some of the real-time examples using a very short storytelling to help him understand the users’ mental model.
I love reading design blogs, articles and other designers’ ideas. When I read those, I am fueled with energy to try including those learnings at my work. I also love looking at illustrations. As a hobby, I have started to make some in my free time 🙂 This is my most recent illustration of a bee.
When I was starting my career as a UX designer, I was scared to make mistakes. But as there is no right or wrong answer in design, it made me more comfortable slowly. I started feeling confident to ask questions, design and fail and iterate.
Everyone in the team has a different perspective on the design. I have found it extremely useful to get feedback from the marketing and sales team, the coaches (people working directly with our customers and training them), developers, and anyone I could reach out to. I have been using Google Slides very frequently to quickly share the high level concepts/vision and get feedback through it. Setting up a quick meeting is even more helpful.
I am constantly learning new processes and habits to rock as a designer 😛 If you enjoyed reading this post, there are more coming 🙂